Friday, September 7, 2012
Best buds Dan and Joe are having fun at the mountain ski resort for the day with Dan's new girlfriend Parker. Joe feels that he doesn't get to spend enough time with Dan, who he has been friends with since childhood, since Dan now wants to spend most of his time with Parker. It starts getting dark and the resort is about to close for the week since they are only open Friday-Sunday. Dan, Joe, and Parker decide to take one last run and talk the chairlift operator into letting them take one more slide down the mountain. While they are halfway around the mountain about fifty feet in the air, the chairlift operator has to leave and lets another guy know that there are three people left to come down before they can close. Three people slide down the mountain and the guy operating mistakes them for being Dan, Parker, and Joe. The man then shuts down the chairlift, unaware that Dan, Parker, and Joe are stranded fifty feet in the air. It gets colder with a storm approaching and frost bite sets in. The three friends try to stay calm, but decide to do whatever it takes to survive the harsh condition, even if it means worse agony than remaining seated and freezing to death.
I will begin by saying that I loved Adam Green's new film Frozen and thought it was downright chilling. Adam Green is a filmmaker that I truly admire because he can handle a little bit of everything when it comes to movie genres. He has made a very hilarious and gory horror/slasher flick with 2007's Hatchet, a psychological suspense Hitchcock style thriller with 2008's Spiral, and now an emotional survival thriller. And plus, I love this man's short films especially his Halloween short "The Tiffany Problem" and his holidays short "The Fairy Tale Police". I truly have to say though that while all of his previous stuff has been really good, Frozen is by far his best work. The scariest part of life for me is death and most importantly a very deadly situation where you know that if you don't get out of this position soon, you're going to die. That is true horror and Green is the man who can pull it off!
The screenplay written by Adam Green from start to finish keeps you invested with what these poor people are going through. It almost felt like I was right there with them. I was that hooked and couldn't look away from the undeniable horror that I was witnessing right before my very eyes. Green wrote such a smart and clever script. I could definitely tell that this script was a page turner for sure. But, it's just "Open Water" on a chairlift or a rip off of "Alive" some have said. I do agree that it can be compared and has the similar theme of those two films, but it carries its own weight. I actually thought that this was superior to Open Water. Don't get me wrong, I love Open Water, but this film had a bigger impact on me.
The characters are very sympathetic here. Dan and Joe are like brothers, they have known each other their whole lives almost. Dan gets a girlfriend and the two guys kinda split apart a bit. Joe holds a little bit of a grudge towards Parker because he wants to spend one on one time with his best friend. While Dan is a one woman guy, Joe is a flirt and usually just has flings with women he meets. We do find out later in the film that Joe got his heart broken by a girl he was in a relationship with his freshmen year of college and is just scared of history repeating itself. It's easy to relate to these characters, which makes the horror that comes that much more intense. There's a scene in the resort where Parker even offers to give the two guys time to hang out, which shows that she is a loving and caring girlfriend that any guy would be lucky to have.
When the three get left behind on the chairlift, things slowly begin to get worse and worse. After waiting several hours for help to come by, Dan decides to do the unthinkable and jump fifty feet down to seek help any way possible. Dan leaps out of the chair and we see in horror where his legs bend, crack, and the bones pop through the skin, leaving Dan laying there in shock and screaming to the top of his lungs as tears come out of his eyes. As if that wasn't horrible enough, a pack of hungry wolves are attracted to the scent of Dan's blood and savagely rip him apart as he screams up to his friend Joe to not let Parker watch as Parker screams and cries in Joe's arms.
This leaves only Parker and Joe left. At first, Joe angrily shouts at Parker since he kinda blames her for all of this. The two finally get to know each other and open up, making them become closer. The next morning, Joe finally decides to climb the wire down to the pole with a ladder to climb down and seek help. I don't want to go any further because it would spoil the film for those of you who haven't seen it. The big question is who will live and who will die? Will they both live? Or, will they both die?
I can truthfully understand why people fainted at the Sundance Film Festival. The special FX in this film look as realistic as possible. We get frost bite, skin so frozen that it peels off, bones breaking through skin, and a guy getting torn apart by wolves. Yeah, this definitely disturbed me in the realism of it all.
The music by Andy Garfield definitely added to the intensity of the film.
Adam Green regular Will Barratt did an amazing job as director of photography. The guy definitely has a gift at visuals because the movie looked fantastic. It didn't even look like an independent film at all.
The acting was absolutely amazing. Kevin Zegers was great as Dan. I felt so bad for what that dude went through and his death was so fucked up! Shawn Ashmore was probably my favorite as Joe. He brought a great sympathetic character to the screen that I truly felt sorry for. I could definitely relate to him. Zegers and Ashmore also had great chemistry as best friends because in real life they had known each other since childhood. What a perfect match up! I've been a huge fan of both Ashmore brothers. Plus, Shawn was Ice Man in the X-Men films! I've also been a big fan of Kevin Zegers, especially in that Dawn of the Dead remake from 2004. And Emma Bell was both very hot and the ideal girlfriend as Parker. I felt so much sympathy for this young woman. That scene where she is grieving over Dan's death is very emotional and sad. She also had great chemistry with the two guys and could definitely cry and scream really well. Bottom line, I bought everyone of these actors' performances and they definitely deserve more work and Frozen is proof of how great they are. We also get some really fun cameo appearances. If you've seen anything that Adam Green and his company Ariescope Pictures have done then you can expect a few cameos. There's a cameo by Joe Lynch (director of Wrong Turn 2: Dead End), Adam Green himself, Kane Hodder (who also was the stunt co-ordinator), and there's even a cameo by Adam Green's wife. Also, I find it funny that Shawn Ashmore's character's name is Joe Lynch, named after Wrong Turn 2's director who is really good friends with Adam Green.
The direction by Adam Green is absolutely fantastic and stunning. I have to say that Green has balls for doing this movie the way he did. I can't think of many filmmakers who would actually shoot a film like this during a snow storm for several weeks. Yes, Frozen was filmed on an actual mountain in real snow during real snow storms. I also highly respect the cast for sticking through the harsh conditions because they wanted to make a damn good movie even if it meant a little frost bite and getting sick to make it happen. I admire and respect Adam Green for making his movies for both himself and the horror fans. I'm definitely excited to see what he does with the long awaited sequel Hatchet II. Definitely show this man the respect that he truly deserves!
Overall, Frozen is a chilling, horrifying, emotional, and gripping movie watching experience. You love real terror? Well, Frozen is your film. This is definitely the kinda film to chill you to the bone.