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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Frozen is a Chilling Thriller

Frozen = 4 out of 5 Stars
Dan Walker: Remember that thing I said about having done this before? I totally lied. I'm scared shitless.
2010 has apparently become a year rife with thrillers that place characters in one tight location for the majority of the film. Devil was an exorcise in B-movie fun. Buried was a solid homage to make Hitchcock proud. And now Frozen functions as a fine film that takes an incredibly simple premise and makes it work very effectively.


Set at a snowy ski resort, Dan, his best friend Joe, and his girlfriend Parker decide to go on a late night snowboard run down the mountain. After convincing a worker at the resort to let them up the chairlift, the trio prepare for their late night journey. A serious problem occurs after a series of events results in the chairlift being shut down while the three would-be snowboarders are trapped quite high in the cold night. With the resort closed and the temperature lowering, the gang has to battle a number of challenges, such as hypothermia and the concept of trying to jump off to the snowy ground below.

The premise is simple, but the stakes are high. The way this film creates its tension is quite well handled. One could try to argue that it's a bit much for a certain element to occur to as such a big story element, but I was wrapped up enough in this film's story that it just felt like a solid way to keep things thrilling and our characters in peril.

The leads, played by Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, and Kevin Zegers all portray their roles well. They are of course required to go through the motions of being irritated and annoyed, followed by both terrified and foolhardy in their attempts to solve their predicament. The three have good chemistry together, even when they do get on each others nerves.

A big factor is how well a film like this is made, and I was very happy with Adam Green's direction. While I wasn't a big fan of Hatchet, I did appreciate the work Green did here, playing at a much more subtle level. There are a number of ways that the film reveals or handles various violent situations that are effectively underplayed and approached at a more serious level. Along with the very appropriate score, I was quite pleased with how this film all came together.

This film really is a solid thriller. It's made well and had me squirming in my seat at several points throughout. The ominous opening followed by brief enough character development, leading up to the lift is well handled and leads to a greatly paced story that mixes enough moments of tension with mild amounts of relief, before putting you in another tense situation. Well done.
Parker O'Neil: Okay then, Lynch, what *is* the worst way to die?
Joe Lynch: What...
Parker O'Neil: No, no, no, you have an answer for everything. What is you biggest fear?
Joe Lynch: That's easy. The sarlacc pit.

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