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on February 22, 2010
We've seen so many thrillers in which the threat comes from something unnatural, be it a ghost, a zombie, or a masked serial killer that cannot himself be killed. This is partly why "Frozen" is such a refreshing experience - nature itself is the threat. Human beings are capable of withstanding a great deal, but there's always a breaking point, and this movie does a pretty good job of searching for it. It begs the question: What would you do if you found yourself in a similar situation? Is there anything that could be done? Or is it merely a matter of waiting to die? For something that very easily could have been a mindless shock fest, "Frozen" is instead an effective story where suspense builds from a fairly plausible situation.

As far as the plot is concerned, there isn't all that much to describe. In fact, it can all be summed up in one sentence: At a mountain resort, three college kids struggle to survive when they're left stranded on a ski lift. Everything depends on how the plot advances, and this includes character development, which is surprisingly strong. Dan (Kevin Zegers) and Lynch (Shawn Ashmore) have been friends since the first grade. Because of Dan's new girlfriend, Parker (Emma Bell), Lynch now feels that their friendship is in jeopardy; their skiing trips have traditionally been a Guys Only thing, and yet here she is, tagging along. For the first twenty minutes or so, Lynch repeatedly tells Parker, as nicely as possible, that she's in the way.

Hoping to get in one last hill before the ski lift closes for the night, the three smooth-talk their way onto the ski lift. Unfortunately, there are two lift operators, and the second one doesn't realize that the three skiers who have just descended are not the same three currently ascending the mountain. The lift is subsequently switched off. Dangling above a snowy slope on a bleak winter night, Dan, Lynch, and Parker remember, with horrific clarity, that the resort will remain closed for an entire week.

You can probably imagine what they now must face. Obviously, the cold, which quickly leads to frostbite in spite of their warm clothing. There's also the heat of the midday sun, which will probably lead to sunburn. And that howling off in the distance? I can assure you that it isn't coming from rescue dogs. So what can Dan, Lynch, and Parker do? Shout for help? Try to pull themselves across the sharp wire carrying the suspended chairs? Jump off and hope they don't break their legs? Throw their ski equipment to get someone's attention? Lose control altogether? Take your pick. No matter what they decide to do, it sure as hell won't be easy.

Had the characters not been properly developed, there would be no conceivable way to successfully make this last for just over ninety minutes. Writer/director Adam Green, who had previously directed the slasher homage "Hatchet," goes in the right direction by giving each of the three leads some well worded dialogue, most of which focuses on memories and primal emotional outbursts. There are some good moments between Parker and Lynch, who eventually understand that hating one another will get them nowhere. One of the best scenes shows Parker tearfully panicking over the fate of her new puppy, who was left alone in her apartment. Stupid, you say? What would you think about if you were in her place? Exactly.

If there is a weakness to "Frozen," it's that some of the suspense is wasted on scenes of overbearing makeup effects, which I can't describe for fear of spoiling the plot. What I will say is that movies like this work so much better when it relies on psychological horror; the idea of falling off, of freezing, of being attacked, of losing your balance, etc. is always more effective than seeing it. Of course, there would be no resolution if nothing physical happened, so maybe it's a moot point. Regardless, I felt the human scenes were stronger than the action scenes, where the characters were reduced to little more than infernal screamers.

The long and short of it is that "Frozen" is better than I thought it was going to be. In an age when horror movies are about little more than young people dying elaborate deaths, I realized that I actually cared about these skiers and what was happening to them. While it occasionally falls victim to conventional thriller tactics, it still tries for something more, getting under your skin not through visuals so much as through the overall situation. The idea of being left alone in a hostile environment with no resources is genuinely frightening. The idea of zombies eating your brains? Fun, maybe, but certainly not frightening. There's no chance of that happening in real life, despite Max Brooks' evidence to the contrary.
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A dubiously labeled "horror" film--"Frozen" is actually a surprisingly strong film about survival. If you were disappointed by "The Blair Witch Project" (a harrowing film about being lost, not about witches) or "Open Water" (a film more reliant on the drama of helplessness than on shark scares), then you will probably see little point to "Frozen." If, however, the very real frights of those films unsettled you--this film should tap into the same sensibilities and be right up your alley. An incredibly tense tale of three friends who are stranded on a ski lift, "Frozen" explores very real and powerful feelings of isolation and desperation as the trio comes to terms with their situation. Realizing that to survive is to act is only the first hurdle. Unfortunately, it seems as if nature itself is conspiring against the kids.

"Frozen" is a surprisingly sophisticated drama despite its very simple premise. The terror is understated and real (not at all what I was expecting from the director of the middling horror/comedy "Hatchet"). Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore, and Emma Bell do a fantastic job bringing this unpleasant experience to life. From joking bravado, to quiet desperation, to regret and recriminations, to acceptance and action--you really feel tapped into the emotions and fear of the protagonists. That's why "Frozen" is so disturbing and so great. The middle third of the film is so intense and memorable, it will definitely stick with me as one of the most horrifyingly bleak things I've seen this year! And while the film does strive for a "scary" payoff with a bigger action sequence at the finale, the palpable sense of danger of the film's quieter moments is never equaled.

I truly think it is a disservice to market "Frozen" strictly in the horror category. It is most definitely a character driven drama. The horror of the premise is real and not manufactured for maximum scares. Great characterizations, effective performances and a slow-build tension distinguish "Frozen" as a harrowing and heartbreaking journey of human emotions. I hope that people will come to discover and appreciate "Frozen." It is my choice for one of the biggest sleepers of the year--I'm absolutely stunned by how well it achieves what it set out to do. A serious recommendation that extends beyond horror to all mainstream audiences! 4 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 9/10.
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on January 28, 2014
I did get caught up in the whole "survival" aspect of this movie, but having some skiing experiences of my own, I realize how unrealistic/plausible the situation in this movie is...they should have died from exposure. They never seemed to use any critical thinking in how to get off the lift, and they obviously waited way too long to finally act. But the issues presented, again with the extreme survival situation, made for high drama.
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A solid tale of survival against the elements and testing the bonds of friendship. There are, admittedly, quite a few plot holes (as noted by other reviewers) but if you can set those aside, then you'll find this one worth a rental. Especially good for getting together with a bunch of friends. The acting is key to this film, and the three lead actors did not disappoint. If youre looking for a fun thriller and something that will probably be one you and your buddies talk about next week at school or even at the office, especially if youve ever been on a ski lift, this one is great for that kind of fun movie experience.
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on September 14, 2010
Good B movie, with some great acting and some pretty good emotional factors. I'm not much of a skier myself but you do have to wonder how much attention people would get if they did "happen" to get stuck on one, which is the reason this movie isn't very realistic. I live in WV and never once has there ever been a story of someone getting stuck on a ski lift, pretty much in the history of the state. Even at the places we have here Snowshoe and Wisp, they always check and double or triple check and do up keep all year around to maintain everything and make sure no one is or would be stranded. All that aside the idea is clever, and its pleasant to watch. The falling, frost bite, climbing on the sharp cables are all very accurate and plausible, so you could really see yourself in the situation of doing what the kids do to try and survive. And the level of panic and emotion is set very well within the circumstances, so thumbs up for that. The one thing i hated about this movie is the wolves. Rarely do they hang around were people thrive, let alone a ski resort, or if they did they are very afraid of humans and would run at the site of you. Basically like a shark to blood they have the wolves come out after a minute or so when the first person is on the ground, due to the scent of blood. No. Not to give to much away but i think maybe they should have thought of something a little better than getting eaten by wolves, but it does add to the horror. So its not a bad movie, and not a great one, its just there. The music is very emotional for a survival picture and you can relate to how the final person is feeling when staring death in the face. And though its not the ending i wanted or expected its better than i thought.

Next time leave out the wolves who wouldnt come near you, especially to rip you apart and eat your entrails. lol
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on February 23, 2013
It's unbelievable that this is from the same guy who brought us Hatchet (make no mistake, I liked that one too), but it's totally different in tone and style. So if you think this is Hatchet on a ski lift, stay clear of this one, because it is not. It is a well shot and well acted drama of survival of three friends and it leaves you in tears after some of the more harrowing and heart tearing sequences ever filmed for a genre picture. Two thumbs up for the young cast who delivered a stunning and emotional moving performance until the bitter end. So if you're a fan of drama and survival horror join in and have a blast.
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I really wanted to like this movie because I usually like movies such as The Reef or Open Water where some people get stranded in the middle of the ocean and struggle to survive for days. However, these college kids in "Frozen" start out with such vulgar mouths and disrespect toward other people, it is difficult to care what happens to them. SPOILER ALERT: Once they are stranded on a ski lift after it is turned off and everybody leaves for a week, they realize the seriousness of their predicament, and their personalities begin to show more compassion. The film never really focuses or is able to make you FEEL the sheer height of the ski lift, so a lot of the fear is lost. You DO realize how dangerous the low temperatures are, but so many people are afraid of heights that it would have been a valuable aspect of their dilemma on which to focus. The acting is good, the cinematography is ok, the pacing is slow and the soundtrack is good. For some reason it just didn't all add up to "OK".
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on August 13, 2013
This film just opened today in limited release and I just came back from watching this film. Very few films take us through a real original disturbing and masterfully crafted edge of your seat thriller/drama/horror adventure movie....All I have to say is... studios look and learn. I could only hope more films were this engrossing. As I watched I was so involved in what was going on, my popcorn and coke fell out of my hands. This is a really truly horrific scenario that is so real and could very much happen just about anywhere at anytime and without notice. The actors, Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore and Emma Bell gave nothing short of outstanding performance and the direction is flawless. Saw Zegers in Transamerica and really like his choice of work... have been following him for sometime now and I look forward to seeing more work from Shawn Ashmore and Emma - all very gifted actors who really own their craft. Back to the film... I was inmerse from the get go till the end and you never see nothing coming which is exactly how I love my movie-going experience. The advertisements were right... this is the Jaws, pirahna, whatever opportunistic disaster movie you can think of, for a new generation. Highly, highly, highly recommended.... you will not be disappointed!!!!! It's an absolute gem of a film. Don't let anyone tell you about it - WATCH IT!!!!
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on October 22, 2014
An original horror movie premise pulled off with much suspense.
Three friends are wanting to get some ski time in during the winter season, hanging out and enjoying the slopes and the scenery. The friends decide to slip past the chair lift operator and get in one last run down before the day ends and then sets up a really fun and suspenseful movie. Suspended high above in freezing temps, the 3 try to brave the elements and some of natures most fierce beasts as they try to make their way down and to freedom.
Please don't let the cover or the title or even the premise scare you away this is one great movie!
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on October 13, 2010
Some Spoilers***

I watched this one the other night, and while there were some suspenseful moments(most of which were wondering what Mr. Darwin was going to do with this hapless trio) it fell flat on too many levels. I normally love horror movies, and I also watched "Hatchet" recently, and liked it alot more....simply because it didn't seem to masquarade as something anything more than it was. Not so with "Frozen"...

The actors, while decent, were decidedly clueless. I won't get into all the things they could have done vs. what they did in fact do. Is this what colleges are producing these days. I guess they took the Incomplete in "Common Sense particularly when your a$$ depends on it 101" that semester. Why would that clown think he could jump and not injure himself to the point where he would be immobile thus negating the point of him jumping off the lift to begin with? Oh and I love the "Don't let her watch!" repeatedly as the wolves are attacking....you are about to get eaten alive by wolves my man, would YOU really care about who is seeing it or their fragile psyche cracking? I doubt it. Oh, and the wolves....like some others said, these are the smartest wolves going(far smarter then these three people). And, they are inconsistent, they spend most of the movie hanging around and basically attacking as soon as any opprotunity presents itself(okay, fine), then in the end, the injured girl crawls away, even after being noticed by at least two wolves that couldn't have been more then 10 feet away, that weren't feasting on the second guy....ahhh wtf? I thought for sure as she was just getting to the road they would appear in masse and drag her off to be devoured, and I think that would have been a much better(at least consistent) ending. It would have been like Jaws swimming off and leaving Brody on the mast of the Orca after attempting to eat Hooper and definitely eating Quint. Oh well....

There was one actor in the film that definitely had its redeeming value, and that was the environment. You did get that stillness and isolation that is key for a movie like this. But that was the films biggest and best quality. By a mile. But I think we can all think of a number of horror films that utilize this well, and give you a better story and characters as well.

Worth a watch(although I doubt you'll keep coming back to it), just don't let your expectations get too high.
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