Coming to Blu-ray September 28th is director Adam Green’s follow-up to the pretty excellent 80′s inspired slasher Hatchet. His sophomore effort ditches the buckets of bloods, head rips, and disfigured villains (but keeps Kane Hodder) and instead opts for a more realistic thriller about a trio of friends stuck on a chairlift.
Yeah, kind of like Open Water but you know, in a chairlift. Except there are no sharks. No, instead their are wolves. This is one of those titles that doesn’t lend itself amazingly well to the Coroner’s Report: with so few characters, there’s bound to be a low body count and with no sadistic inbred dude hiding in the woods, there won’t be much head cutting. Also, there are no boobs. But is it worth watching anyways?
I guess this is like a spoiler alert right off the bat, because if there are only three characters and I tell you two of them die, you’re going to guess at least one of them correctly. Probably both. Anyway, two people die.
With only two deaths the gore isn’t overwhelming, but it is pretty effective when it shows up. We get two broken legs, a lot of wolf violence, frost bite, a big chunk of ripped off skin, some cut up hands and we see the remains of one of the bodies the wolves used as a banquet. It is sufficiently gross and awesome.
While there is a cute girl in the movie, she’s wearing an entire Winter Collection of clothing. Keeping it in your pants is no problem during the 93 or so minutes the film runs.
The ground is further away than it looks. If you want to survive this situation, do absolutely nothing. Let luck guide you safely to the ground and slide easily past the wolves once they’ve gorged themselves on the flesh of your friends.
Frozen is definitely a different film from Hatchet. If you go into expecting a gore fest, obviously you have no idea what the film is actually about. It’s nice to see a director take a risk and branch out early in their career. Adam Green has served as both writer and director on each of his feature films, proving himself to be competent in both areas. Here he manages to write a very self-contained story that features (mostly) believable dialog and characters and keep the limited location visually interesting.
The film features good performances from the trio of leads and a cameo by horror legend Kane Hodder, which is always nice. There was a bit of dialog early on where the group discusses the worst way to die and one of them suggests being stalked and killed by a shark. If this was an intentional Open Water reference, it’s far too on the nose for my tastes, and if it wasn’t intentional, well shit I don’t even know what to say. The whole intro into the death conversation seemed out of place, but that bit was especially and negatively noticeable.
While I enjoyed the film, I would like to first point out a few problems I had with it. One I already discussed in the previous paragraph, the second is the extreme cold and exposed skin, namely, the hand. Parker loses her glove pretty early on in the film and doesn’t do much to protect it. She would have developed frostbite there before it affected her face most likely, but beyond that, she constantly touches and grips the metal bar of the ski lift. That would be absolutely freezing and painful to the touch. This comes into play later to good, gross effect, but realistically she would have been very aware of not touching that bar.
Still on the not perfect side is the comedy of errors of the group attempting to get the attention of the snow plow driver (Hodder). They’re literally showering the area with stuff past his window, but he’s looking the wrong direction at the wrong time. Every time. Ski goggles, skis, poles, helmets. They’re throwing everything in front of this truck (should have aimed for it) and he misses it all. Bummer, dudes.
When the wolves claim their first victim, it’s a pretty good scene. It goes from everything is cool to “Oh Fuck, Wolves” pretty quickly. And these are some pissed off looking wolves. These canines could whip the shit out of any of those True Blood werewolves any day of the week. Along those lines, they probably would have stayed around a lot longer, graphically and gruesomely tearing apart and eating the first victim, rather than basically killing him and running away.
Final two negatives: one I covered in the learning section. The person who survives is just retardedly lucky and did absolutely nothing to help the group, or themselves. Lastly, escaping the ski lift… Now as an extremely macho and strong man, I’m always convinced I can overcome any situation. I don’t care if it’s gorilla wrestling or ski lift climbing, I could get out of there. Because I’m the man.
One character attempts to flee the ski lift by climbing the cables to another lift, and from there to a tower. Good plan, the one I would have gone with from the start. Only problem here is he tries to do it hand over hand, dangling from the rope. A character who confesses to not being able to do a single pull-up probably couldn’t do that. Nor should he. Swing your legs up on the cable and scoot down. Oh and don’t worry about being all cut up. Sure, steel braided ropes can cut and be sharp, but really only when frayed. When they’re in good repair and tightly wound, they’re not going to tear through your gloves, much less your hands. See, that’s the problem with realistic thrillers. Everyone always has a solution. Frozen did a pretty decent job of eliminating those solutions, but still – not perfect.
So what works? Well the dialog and characters are all spot on. The score helps keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie is mostly believable and because of that, fairly tense throughout. Green manages his actors well and keeps the camera in the right spots to ratchet up the tension well.
Overall, it’s a pretty simple story realistically told. It moves at a decent clip and always keeps your attention. Despite all the little things that bothered me, I was still very much engaged with the movie and liked matching my wits against that of the films – seeing if I could overcome the situation in my head before a character did. Though I’m pretty sure I would have survived that shit unharmed. Confidence is key. I guess. Plus I don’t take shit from wolves, I practice boxing wolves daily. That’s not true.
The picture quality of the Blu-ray disc is good, the sound quality is excellent, and there are a few features including commentary, behind the scenes stuff, making ofs, and a little side featurette where Green talks about the real haunted nature of the ski lift they filmed on.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, give it a shot. It’s definitely worth a rental, though I’m not sure how well the film would hold up on a second viewing as, despite it’s engaging nature, it is just a group of people stuck in a ski lift without any explosions or boobs.