Review by Jack Foley
WRITER-director Adam Green is hitherto best known for his slasher throwback Hatchet but changes tack to really notable effect with smart suspenser Frozen.
Inspired by films such as Open Water and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (and, in particular, that filmmaker’s use of sustained tension), Frozen is a smart little three-hander that arrives as the ultimate horror experience for any keen snowboarder or skier among you.
When lifelong best friends Dan (Kevin Zegers) and Joe (Shawn Ashmore), as well as Dan’s girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell), hop on the last ski-lift of the weekend, a series of events conspire to leave them stranded 100 feet in the air when the mountain is closed for the rest of the week.
Faced with plunging temperatures and no one in sight, the trio must figure a way out of their predicament or face the prospect of being frozen alive.
As he has already shown in fits and starts with Hatchet, Green is an astute horror filmmaker who knows how to have fun with his audience.
Hence, the set-up is filled with several knowing nods and references to the type of movie the director is referencing or the type of fates that may lie in store for his hapless heroes.
An early conversation on the worst way to die is a particularly fiendish highlight, with each passenger taking it in turn to think of increasingly more desperate ways to perish – until Green drops in some inventive deaths of his own. And believe me, he does manage to surpass even his protagonists’ worst case scenarios!
But that’s where Frozen really bites, for as tense and darkly humorous as it is at various points, there’s also plenty of squeamish moments for the hardcore horror hounds.
A leg break sequence involving one of the main characters is particularly wince-inducing, while viewers will almost be guaranteed to bury their head in their hands when another succumbs to the perils of frost-bite. And that’s not even mentioning the hungry pack of wolves that gather below them at certain points!
Frozen is therefore a first-rate crowd-pleaser that really is best seen with a similarly appreciative audience. It poses the question ‘what would you do?’ extremely well, while serving as a clever little reference point for anyone planning on a ski trip in the foreseeable future (one of the director’s main aims).
And it also benefits from three terrific central performances from a cast who effectively convey the terror and desperation of their worsening situation with utter believability.
Green has therefore cleverly crafted a first rate chiller that serves as one of the year’s very best horrors.
Running time: 94mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: October 18, 2010
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Adam Green interview-feature
- Frozen Photo Gallery