Frozen is the latest film from Adam Green, and is a very different monster from his popular gore fest Hatchet. Frozen is far more character driven and carries a more serious tone. Though it boasts moments of graphic images during the peril and some slow dialogue driven moments, Frozen is a well shot and very engaging experience.
The film begins with a trio of 20 somthings bribing their way onto a ski lift to enjoy a day of skiing. Lynch (Shawn Ashmore) is noticeably bitter his best friend Dan (Kevin Zegers) has brought along his girlfriend of a year Parker (Emma Bell) on their skiing ritual. As it gets late Lynch and Dan want to get one last run in and convince the lift operator to let them go before he shuts it down. After the bribed operator gets drug away from the controls, his ill-informed replacement shuts the lift off with our trio halfway up. Panic sets in quick as they realize they have been left on the lift and the resort closing for the week, they are forced to make life and death decisions in order to make it through the ordeal alive.
Getting the bad out of the way early, there’s not a lot here that I did not enjoy, but if I had to choose something I’d say much of the buildup to the characters getting stuck took a little too long. I felt I wanted more time with them debating what to do to get out of the situation. That aside I was fully invested in the experience as it was.
The movie looks great. There are some very nice shots of the mountain, and it was shot on location with no green screen or CGI which adds much to the authenticity of what’s happening on screen in each scene. Aside from one effect shot later in the film much of the makeup effects and violence looks and feels incredibly real and not too over the top. It was easy for me to feel for the characters during moments of panic and the fear that would set in; and while the decisions they make seem implausible, as I let myself into the situation more and more I could understand why people would react they way they do. The less you try to analyze each decision and critique each fault in the character’s logic, the more authentic this world feels. I didn’t agree with a few decisions they make, but realizing what my thought process goes through during moments of panic the more I said I would have done the same thing, or at least try the same things.
The cast is comprised of mostly unknowns, with the exception of Shawn Ashmore. Ashmore is known for his roles as Iceman in the X-Men series and an overlooked role in an underrated horror film The Ruins. While I enjoyed all of the three core performances, I found Ashmore’s to be my favorite. The three actors play off each other very well and each of their characters show many different layers to their performances as we progress through the casual joking at the beginning, to nervous laughs right after they are stuck, to the arguing and then into panic and fear. Emma Bell also deserves a shout out nearly beating out Ashmore’s performance with her powerful and almost heartbreaking turn as Dan’s girlfriend. Kevin Zegers can’t be left out as his performance is also very strong, but doesn’t quite reach the level the other two get to.
Overall, Frozen is a very tense and engaging film that is at certain times I felt had a very heavy emotional significance to it. It portrays a truly terrifying experience almost perfectly. The setting mixed with the powerful performances adds to a very exceptional viewing experience. Not everyone will be able to suspend their disbelief deep enough to love the film as much as me, but those that do will not walk away disappointed.