Thursday, September 30, 2010

FROZEN (2010) - Should've gone to the beach, dumbasses

The first time I saw the poster for Frozen, it struck me as a bit odd that anyone thought a compelling horror/thriller movie could be made out of sticking people up on a ski lift for an hour and half. There just didn't seem to be enough of a story that could be fleshed out with such a limited setting without having the director go the easy way and litter the film with flashbacks. Thankfully, Frozen avoids the cliched grainy, black and white flashback explaining the characters' backstory and their caloric intake that fateful morning. It's gripping and suspenseful, but has several parts that drag the running time for a bit longer than it should and it suffers accordingly.

Frozen has our group of three friends going on a snowboarding trip, and wastes no time in introducing them. Dan (Kevin Zegers) and his blonde girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell) join up with Dan's best friend Joe (Shawn Ashmore) to hit the slopes. Immediately it becomes obvious that Parker has no business being up intruding on the guy time, since they spend all day going down easy slopes and Joe understandably gets annoyed. He begs Dan for a real run even though it's getting late, and he agrees, although Parker being the obnoxious nag that she is, just has to tag along. They predictably get stuck halfway up the mountain and left hanging some sixty feet off the ground when the ski lift attendant takes off. As night falls, they get to experience the lovely, wonderful sensation of frostbite, hypothermia and exposure. Since it's Sunday night, and the resort wont open until the next Friday, then they're reasonably scared shitless.
At least the view is pretty good.
A word about the actors, since the movie depends on their performances. They mostly suck. It's as simple as that. The only somewhat famous actor is the guy playing Joe, Shawn Ashmore. Ashmore played Iceman (LOL irony's a bitch) in X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. He is by far the most convincing in his portrayal of the guy who feels guilty for having goaded his friend into agreeing to go on another run when it was clearly not a good idea.

In fact, most of the problems I have with this movie are plain stupid mistakes that no one in their right mind would make when being frozen to death on a damn ski lift. Throughout their ordeal, they are in constant danger of freezing to death and getting frostbite. Yet they have scarves, hoods and ski goggles that THEY NEVER PUT ON. Seriously now. You're freezing your face off and  you can't put on the damn goggles or zip your jacket all the way up? Shiiieeeet, halfway through the film I was just hoping an epic snowstorm would come and then the movie would just cut to black, and then after the credits we'd see them all frozen to death like the chumps they are.

 It just could have been a lot more effective if obvious mistakes that strained credibility were left out. Without going into spoilers, that doesn't even begin to cover it. Be prepared to see some ridiculous, batshit decision making by all three characters. Even with all the dumbassery  on display, there's some pretty exciting sequences. At one point, one of the guys tries to scale from one ski lift to another, getting his hands sliced open on the razor sharp wire. There's also a pack of wolves that shows up halfway through the film that patiently waits for our three idiots to make a false move and get some human dinner.

Frozen is a decent thriller which doesn't have to rely on excessive gore or jump scenes to keep the viewer's interest. It goes on for a good half hour longer than necessary and although the execution leaves a lot to be desired, it is an intriguing concept. I'll admit that it had me wondering just what the hell I would do if I were stuck 60-ft off the ground with wolves waiting for me to fall and die. A better cast and a better director would have done wonders.

Final rating: 5/10

tl;dr: hurr durr let's go up the mountain when a storm is coming and at night. oh shit we're stuck...

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