MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Horror/Stars: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, Rileah Vanderbilt, Ed Ackerman, Adam Johnson, Christopher York, Kane Hodder, Will Barratt, Joe Lynch, Peder Melhuse, Cody Blue Snider/ Runtime: 93 minutes
I think it is safe to say that with the slice of cinematic pie I am reviewing today in the form of 2010’s Frozen, film scribe/helmer Adam Green has successfully managed to, at least in the eyes of this reviewer, show that he is neither a one trick pony nor a genius at just making throwback 80s slasher films. I say that because Frozen is a completely different animal by far in that here is a film that is downright gloomy, emotionally sapping, completely exhausting, and quite riveting cinematic viewing experience that is easily one of the more intriguing horror films I have seen. Indeed this is a film that trades in the over the top gore and dark humor found in Hatchet for being a film that is no less guaranteed to terrify and engross you to the point that it will never leave you even after the credits begin to roll. Heck this is even a film where even what you may find written about in this review doesn’t do enough for this film’s benefit. Suffice it to say then that this is the kind of film that even though you will want to look away at whatever is occurring on screen, the film will still find a way to make itself too riveting for you to do so. Suffice it to say though that this is the kind of film that I will honestly say is one that you choose to watch at your own peril. Indeed make of that last statement what you will….
The plot is as follows: Frozen introduces us to a beautiful kingdom where 2 girls by the names of Anna and Elsa with their snowman friend Olaf in tow decide to embark on a grand adventure and….oh I’m sorry. Guess I got my scary movies mixed up with my horror films there. Big difference. Anyway THIS Frozen, easily the better of the two by the way, tells us the riveting story of a trinity of members of that delightful informal organization known as college kids in the forms of a guy named Dan, his devoted girlfriend Parker, and Dan’s best bud Joe as they manage to shanghai their way onto a ski lift without paying because….they’re college kids and budgeting is hard enough as is. Anyway we soon see our intrepid trio as they hit the beginner slopes for the benefit of Parker, but soon things take a turn for the worst when the boys decide they want to do the proverbial last ride of the night on a more advanced course and with a winter storm on the horizon no less. Unfortunately Lady Fate and Col. Karma have other plans and soon a mix-up in regards to who is left in control of the lift soon sees everything being shut down and our intrepid trio left stuck halfway up to the top of the mountain with no way to make it to the ground, no way to get help, and slim to no chance of surviving the winter storm roaring all around them. Making matters worse is the soon realization that the lift didn’t just hiccup, but is off for the rest of the week. Thus as a vibe of resigned helplessness begins taking over their mind, and the idea of slowly and agonizingly dying high up on a mountain begins to become a potential plausibility, our trio find themselves engaged in a desperate battle for survival lest they wish to meet a finale that is as excruciating and terrifying as you could possibly imagine…
Now right off the bat I am going to make a plea of each and every one of you. That of course being that if you are the kind of person who is intrigued enough by what I say to give this film a try then please for the love of everything good and holy DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER until after you have gone through the film at least once. This isn’t because the trailer is a bad one, but because it simply spoils way too much, and as a result, this cinematic exercise is one that is best when going in with as little knowledge as possible about what you are to see and experience (hence why it isn’t even under this review). Having said that, I do find myself in a very distinct and quite problematic situation here since it is very difficult for me as a reviewer to really talk about this film without potentially spoiling anything that is either integral from a narrative perspective or which strengthen and enhance the terror that awaits you when watching the film for the very first time. What I guess I can tell you is that this is a truly unique slice of cinematic pie in the manner that it potently engages those of you who watch it by putting its main trio, along with you the viewer, in a situation that is both perilous yet frighteningly plausible instead of one where the characters are all dumb teens with extreme libidos finding themselves being hunted by a masked killer. Instead, Frozen is a film which manages to get to the core of terror by operating from a premise that is about as realistic as you could get. Indeed it is not only that realisticness, but also an incredible eye for detail, some intriguing character development, and skill behind the camera which all manage to be blended together to create one of the more icy horror cinematic ventures made.
Yet even better than all of that is the fact that the film is to impatient to let the characters get trapped in order to the unease and tensions to start to rise. Rather, film scribe/helmer Adam Green is actually able to conjure up quite a unnerving vibe through no less than just looking at and hearing the life as the helmer is able to showcase it as a horrific device that is just begging this trio to climb on so it can then strand them with little to no chance for survival let alone even think of being rescued. Heck not even knowing beforehand that the 3 are going to get stuck is able to nullify the terror and unease which permeates the film way before the main narrative gets underway. Indeed the helmsmanship from Green is that relentless and powerful. Yet even more remarkable than that is the fact that as the movie goes through its 93-minute, including credits, runtime, the director is actually able to continually ensure this slice of cinematic pie that one that is both novel and quick in terms of pacing despite being constructed around mostly dialogue and a singular location. Indeed I do not know of that many films that can be this riveting whilst utilizing the amount of locations, characters, and movement that this one does. Suffice it to say it really is a riveting example of Green’s skill as a helmer and the power of a riveting script which doesn’t look down on either the audience or the characters. Yes the actions these characters don’t always do what they intend for them to do, but at least they can be seen as the realistic steps one would take in this situation which you don’t usually see in these kinds of films. To that end, we see that this film’s narrative is one that has been intricately thought up and then expanded on which is quite astonishing due to how simplistic the film really truly is. To that extent, we also see that the trinity of characters at the heart of the narrative are also well-written and as such they are both relatable and actually worthy of some degree of sympathy. Finally the performances used to bring these characters to life are also fairly good too to the point that the actors actually play their roles with an equal mix of both enjoyment and realistic about them. Indeed this film would not be as good as it is without the acting talents of Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, and Kevin Zegers and it is this dynamic trio which manages to be the proverbial bow on one of the most distinct gifts that movie lovers have been given by the world of horror cinema in easily the past, as of this writing, 10 years.
All in all I think the only question that this movie presents me with is just if it is one that can be watched more than once. I say that because one time might be more than enough, but with how surprisingly good this slice of cinematic pie is, its biggest glaring weakness might just be that void of replayability due to knowing how events in the film are going to unfurl. However this film is so riveting, gripping, and well-constructed that it still manages to maintain its worth as both an intense and quite draining in virtually every way you can think of slice of cinematic pie that might actually be worth watching every now and again. Either way you choose to think about it however, if you are one of those people who thinks that you can overcome the many hurdles that come with viewing this film then you should definitely give it a try at least one time. This is because more than anything, and incidentally speaking from experience, this is one slice of cinematic pie that you will never ever be able to let go from the dark recesses of your mind as much as you may wish to do so. On a scale of 1-5 I give Frozen “2010” a solid 3.5 out of 5.