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Frozen (movie)

Horror-Thriller Film directed by Adam Green

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When Nature Has the Upper Hand

  • Feb 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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October 19, 2010
Seems like we have very similar observations about this film and rated it the same. I am so with you, the humanity of the scenes were stronger than its intense moments. Great review!
October 19, 2010
Sounds good, need to see this tonight.
More Frozen (movie) reviews
review by . October 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Adam Green Redeems Himself With A Slice of Pure Human Horror!
Honestly, my first experience with writer/director Adam Green was the abysmal “Hatchet”; a movie me and my buddy @Dave79 have argued the quality of that movie again and again. Well, I am still strong in my stance that “Hatchet” is not a good film, but this time, I have to say Adam Green may have redeemed himself with the movie “Frozen”. The film is just frighteningly claustrophobic in the manner that it channels the feeling of helplessness. “Frozen” …
review by . January 28, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****    The trio of protagonists in Adam Green's "Frozen" - Parker (Emma Bell), Dan (Kevin Zegers), and Joe (Shawn Ashmore) - find themselves in a sticky situation. They've hit the slopes for a few days to spend some time skiing and/or snowboarding. They insist on leaving all electronics back at wherever they are staying for the time being; and they're ready to embrace the snow, the ski lifts, and those who are just as passionate about their pastime as they are.     …
review by . October 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      FROZEN      may contain spoiler      Adam Green is a good filmmaker from what I have come to gather, some people love him others not so much. You may remember a little Slasher movie maybe you have heard of it, a kick back to the days of Slasher glory called "Hatchet". I have heard both sides on that film from those who like it and those who don't, as for me, that is a review for another day. Maybe you have heard of "Spiral" …
Quick Tip by . October 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I say go ahead and get this movie it is worthy of your collection, but try out the rental, it may lead you to seeing his other films.
review by . October 06, 2010
This film has the feel of a TV movie. The acting is decent and the story is OK, yet the film is unsatisfying. The characters don't get developed that well until the drama is fully unfolding, and the film is really just focused on the trauma of the 3 young adults trapped on the ski lift and their diminishing hopes for survival. When the final rescue scene comes to its quick conclusion the viewer may also be saying "thank God this is over." Unless you are a real fan of this type of cinematic terrorizing …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Frozen is a 2010 American/British horror film directed by Adam Green and stars Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers and Shawn Ashm

  • Opened February 5, 2010 | Runtime:1 hr. 34 min.
  • R
    for some disturbing images and language
  • A typical day on the slopes turns into a chilling nightmare for three snowboarders when they get stranded on the chairlift before their last run. As the ski patrol switches off the night lights, they realize with growing panic that they’ve been left behind dangling high off the ground with no way down. With the resort closed until the following weekend and frostbite and hypothermia already setting in, the trio is forced to take desperate measures to escape off the mountain before they freeze to death. Once they make their move, they discover with horror that they have much more to fear than just the frigid cold. As they combat unexpected obstacles, they start to question if their will to survive is strong enough to overcome the worst ways to die?
  • Cast: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, Ed Ackerman, Rileah Vanderbilt
  • Director: Adam Green
  • Genres: HorrorPsychological Thriller
  • Poster art for "Frozen."
  •                Snow-sport enthusiasts, take note: Adam Green's unsettling thrillerFrozensuggests that abiding by the rules and regulations of your local ski resort might not only be polite, but essential to your health. Green's hapless heroes--nice guy Dan (Kevin Zegers,Transamerica), his best ...
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    Director: Adam Green
    Genre: Horror
    MPAA Rating: Unrated
    Screen Writer: Adam Green
    DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010
    Runtime: 94 minutes
    Studio: ANCHOR BAY
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