100 of 117 people found the following review helpful
When Nature Has the Upper Hand,
This review is from: Frozen (DVD)
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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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 23, 2010 1:21:13 PM PDT
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b says:
Excellent review as always! I saw the trailer for this one a while ago and will see it one of these days. I thought Open Water was very good also, but just so depressing......not really why I watch movies. It was certainly effective as I imagine this one is too.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2010 8:29:27 PM PDT
Christopher Pike says:
Although your review was good for the most part, you certainly spoil too much of the movie. Good thing I just finished watching it and was merely here to see what others thought of the film.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2010 11:07:48 AM PDT
Barbara Barclay says:
Unfortunately, almost all of your reviews reveal far too much of the plots!
Posted on Dec 10, 2010 2:35:12 PM PST
Cornelius G. Kelly says:
~ Hey Chris
I have to agree with most comments here.
You're giving the whole movie away without posting "Spoilers Alert!"
Amazon reviewing rules state that you must say "Spoilers Alert,"
Before revealing the movie plot.
Although you may be a good reviewer
I am now not interested in seeing Frozen
Since I really know the story via your review.
Just put in "Spoiler Alert" and your reviews will be
Really more appreciated by everyone.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2011 11:15:01 AM PDT
I'm in full agreement with the others. Fortunately I had just watched the movie last night and was looking to see what others thought. If I had read your "review" first I would have been furious. Giving a line-by-line description of the entire movie is not a review. And then you cap it off at the end by saying you won't talk about the makeup for fear of spoiling the plot!!!!
Posted on Sep 4, 2011 10:44:27 AM PDT
Kenneth J. St Amand says:
How does not even one of the trio have a cell phone?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2011 12:04:54 AM PDT
In a well-written script maybe we would have been able to answer that question. There was a conversation between the guys while they were deciding to take the late-night last run in which the girl butts in and there is some talk about the guys telling her to leave her cell phone in her locker. It's not very clearly written and easily missed in terms of importance to the plot. Okay, I can accept something like that, as unrealistic as it is that ANY person in that age group would ever go anywhere without their cell phone, maybe not as an emergency device but as a way of taking pics, posting to Facebook and texting friends. But, let's give the script the benefit of the doubt and agree the guys talked her into not taking her's. What about them? I still don't know why they didn't take their phones. Granted there is a chance that some cell phones don't work well in a remote area, but at a ski resort???
Now here's how I really feel ... if any of them had a cell phone they could have called for help and about 10 minutes later they would be saved, hence no movie. That's why we have to suspend logic many times while watching movies, especially thrillers, to let "events" happen. So that brings up the question, are such faux pax's really bad writing or are they good attempts at plot development? What's really in question here is why didn't the script writer give us a bit of a more logical explanation why 3 young people went anywhere in a current timeframe without cell phones.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2012 1:29:01 PM PST
L P says:
what do you mean overbearing make up effects? I thought it was very believable and how else were they gonna show frost bites and all the other nasty stuff that happens to you when you are freezing to death.
Posted on Mar 11, 2013 11:13:19 PM PDT
Nothing against the review, but Amazon has posted it to the wrong film, as I found it on the listing for the British quasi scifi film "Frozen," starring Shirley Henderson, not the American thriller starring Shawn Ashmore. Amazon, can you fix this please?
Posted on Apr 4, 2014 11:57:33 PM PDT
Scott K. Kenworthy says:
The only plausible part of the movie was when Emma miraculously reaches the road and the first driver might have not seen her, hence not picking her up. They never would have survived the first night.
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