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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frozen (2010)

Adam Green is something of an oddity in today’s genre climate. On one hand he’s a horror geek who produced the fun, yet shallow, Hatchet movies; on the other he’s given us top-quality character based horror like Spiral. As disposable horror go, the Hatchet movies are very much top quality entries, but they aren’t going to be remembered for originality or stand as a testament to his creativity skills. Green’s career took an interesting turn with Grace, which he produced. Grace is a highly original and equally disturbing horror film that proved that the man has an eye for a good script. Now comes Frozen, a small little movie about a group of friends stuck on a ski-lift… doesn’t send chills down the spine does it? But you’re in for a damn unpleasant surprise.

Three friends, Dan, Joe and Dan’s girlfriend Parker, are enjoying a day on the slopes. After cutting a deal with the ski lift operator for a reduced fare they further push their luck and demand one last run down the slopes as the park is closing. Reluctantly, the operator agrees and they go on their way. As they get further up the mountain, down below a serious of blunders result in the park getting shut down, while they’re stuck up in the mountain, 100 feet from the ground. Panic immediately sets in, but as time passes the horrifying realisation that they are stuck up there for five days kicks in and they have to figure out how to get back down to safety.

The simplest stories are often the most effective, and in the case of Frozen it certainly holds true. Three characters attached to a chair 100 foot above ground, hardly a complex scenario for a labyrinth-like narrative, but that’s where Frozen excels, it’s this stripped down approach that holds our attention for the films runtime. Due to the stories self-imposed limitations director Green has time to develop his characters and our affections for them before piling on the risk and danger. With its cold visuals playing off the icy landscapes perfectly, tension and danger are constantly assaulting the audience subconsciously. It’s this menace that truly haunts us as the film plays out.

Green’s appreciation for the films limitations truly pay-off. As the scenario grows increasingly worse, we share the characters despair because like them, we have no idea of what to expect. We know what they know, we have no insider knowledge of how things will play out and we suffer the ordeal every bit as much as the protagonists. It’s this cold, even heartless, approach that may alienate some viewers – this is by no means a enjoyable film in the traditional sense – but as an exercise in fear, tension and desperation the film is a triumph.

Those looking for a truly frightening film will find more than they bargained for here, those looking for the thrill-seeking jollies of Green’s previous effort, Hatchet, will sorely be disappointed; here he displays a true maturity as a filmmaker and as a great talent worth watching in future. That is, if he can stay away from the goofy elements of his debut that made him an overnight success: fun as that may be, there’s no merit to them and are forgotten within minutes, Frozen however, will stay with you long after watching and hold up to repeat viewing. Frozen is without a doubt one of the finest horror films to see the light of release in 2010 and comes highly recommended.

Frozen is out now to buy on Blu-ray or DVD.

1 comment:

  1. Saw this movie on the cable the other night and was impressed. It's cold and heartless and certainly leaves you petrified. It's not everyday that I get to see quality horror such as this. Highly recommended!