Frozen (2010) Review
Written by: jmh314
When it comes to genre films, there always seem to be Directors that get annointed the "next big thing" by fans after one or two successful movies. Eli Roth was kind of this poster boy in the horror genre for a while but it feels that torch is being shared with Director Adam Green. Adam made a lot of instant fans with his film Hatchet, billed as old-school american horror. And while like any horror film it had its detractors, his future still seemed bright in the genre. Add in co-directing the amazing thriller Spiral and producing Grace, it only logical his newest film Frozen would be the next step in his progression as a genre fave.
Now maybe I got caught up in the hype a little of Adam Green because after sitting through Frozen I was disappointed. It wasnt a bad movie but by no means was it anything we hadnt seen before. I was an idea that had a lot of potential to different then a lot of other thrillers out there but ultimately left me frozen to my theater chair in boredom. There are a few good qualities that kept me interested in the film but when it was all said and done I felt the idea got strethed too thin to make a feature film and maybe would of been better suited as a short film.
The plot of Frozen follows best friend Dan and Lynch as they take their annual trip to a ski lodge. Only this time their trip is a little different than normal as Dan's girlfriend Parker joins the duo. After convincing Parker to charm & bribe the chair lift operator, the trip begin their day of skiing/snoboarding on beginner hills for the rookie snowboarder Parker. At the end of the day, Lynch convinces Dan and Parker to take one last run down a bigger hill. Unfortunately the lift was just closed due to an impending storm. After one last job convincing the lift operator, the three were on their way to the top when the power gets shut off due to a tragic mix up. Stranded high above the ground in a freezing snow storm, Dan, Parker, and Lynch must do whatever it takes to stay warm, find help, and survive.
There have been many horror/thriller films with similar plots in different locations such as stranded in the ocean or lost down a mine shaft. The whole "no one knows we're here" survival plot has been done in different locals and while a ski lift was different, its kind of like thinking outside but pressing right up against the box. The locale is different but the rest of the elements are the same: 1) No one knows were here 2) How are we gonna get help 3) Throw in some sort of danger (in this case circling wolves below, similar to sharks in ocean films)
The key to a film like this is plot and characters. Unfortunately this is what held the film back. While I enjoyed Hatchet, I felt the script was probably the biggest gripe I had and Adam Green hasnt seemed to pimprove much on Frozen. It just seemed a lot of the interactions between the three were corny, even when they were fearing for their life. And in any film like this theres only so many times you can here "what are we gonna do" or "its so cold" or "helllllllp" before it becomes a broken record.
The characters came off a bit too whiney and the only one I really cared about was the girl Parker. Later on they tried one last time to get me to care about the characters and by then I thought it was too late and felt force fed sappy stories to feel bad for the characters. It just didnt work for me after the whole first half hour of the film was cheesy lines and whiney interactions between the three.
The positives of the film were some of the FX leading to the climax. All the FX were traditional blood and latex FX, there was no CGI. And as mentioned there were wolves involved below the ski lift, and these were real wolves that were trained so its nice to see all the FX were practical and not added in post via computer. Based on the story, all the FX fit and werent over the top. One scene was a little cringe worthy (one lady in my theater with a few people screamed and reached across for the popcorn bag because she thought she was gonna vomit) but its nothing hardcore or even casual horror fans would find disturbing. It all fit in the context of the story and was there for purpose and not added just to have some gruesome elements.
All in all, I was just a bit let down. I think part of it is that these survival based thrillers need to be very perfectly executed to be good. While some of the situations kept me interested, spending 90 minutes with these three characters that I didnt care about and spouted off cheesy fratboy lines was tiring. It all comes back to the script that was a litle too drawn out which left me checking the time on my phone more often then I'd like as it trudged along. While the writing and characters were what really kept my interest wavering, the good use of minimal FX and a few exciting elements entertained me enough to know that Adam Green still has great potential as a horror director, but maybe its time he keeps his talents behind the camera and leaves the writing up to someone else.