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Frozen
BLU-RAY disk
09.28.2010 By: Jason Adams
Frozen order
Director:
Adam Green

Actors:
Shawn Ashmore
Emma Bell
Kevin Zegers

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In an odd twist of bad luck, three friends get stuck on a ski lift in the middle of the mountains after the resort closes for the week. Stranded alone high off the ground and subjected to the natural elements, the trio must figure out a way down or die trying.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Sometimes a great premise really makes a movie. I remember hearing what FROZEN was about from Sundance earlier this year and thinking it sounded like a setup for a great thriller. And director Adam Green (HATCHET, SPIRAL) does make the most of the plot and turns in a simple but effective horror movie.

I think Green is lucky (or smart) to capitalize on a situation that people can definitely relate with. If you've ever been on a ski lift like the one in the movie, I'm sure you've at least contemplated the possibility of falling or getting stuck hanging there. FROZEN maximizes your fear of heights, claustrophobia, the raw power of nature, and some other things you're probably afraid of (that I won't mention so as not to ruin the surprise) and amps up the tension.

The result is a cinematic predicament that's equal parts terrifying, tragic and realistic. You can claim you'd handle things differently, but given the conditions and the mindset of the characters, I think their actions and reactions all make sense. Its fairly obvious the filmmakers went to lengths to avoid any dumb "movie logic" and thought out every potential solution. And the film does a good job of putting you in the characters' shoes to consider their options; just some of the POV height shots were enough to make my balls go internal. Coupled with a few hard to watch, wince-inducing scenes (reports of people fainting at Sundance seem plausible), there's some nice suspense and tension at work here.

Green keeps the film's pace running smoothly. I don't think it really dragged too much, except maybe in the very beginning pre-ski lift. The seriously scary scenes only appear periodically (although the tone of dread stays with it the whole time), which leaves a lot of room for drama at the hands of the trio of actors. At first I wasn't a big fan of Emma Bell, but once she got to the meatier parts (no pun intended), her performance grew on me. Kevin Zegers also does nice work, but I was most impressed by Shawn Ashmore, who carries most of the weight as the third-wheel Joe.

Overall, FROZEN is pretty effective. By that, I mean I donít think Iíll be going skiing any time soon.
THE EXTRAS
This Blu-Ray is chock full of quality material that showcases Green's talent and drive as a filmmaker. The behind the scenes features add up to about an hour and a half, so there's plenty here to enjoy.

Commentary by director Adam Green and actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, and Emma Bell: This track is almost like a survivor's therapy meeting, given the brutal nature of the shoot. The cast reminisce with Green about the ridiculous filming process, from real heights to freezing temperatures. It's an entertaining listen and will make you appreciate the final product a little more.

Commentary by director Adam Green director of photography Will Barratt and editor Ed Marx: This is obviously the more technical of the two commentaries. And once again the shooting location didn't make things easy on anybody. If hearing the specifics of lighting and cinematography are relevant to your interests, then you'd enjoy this.

Deleted Scenes: Three cut segments totaling about 5 minutes, each with optional commentary. The big one is a graphic scene that's cut away in the final film (if you've seen it you can guess which one). Hope you have a strong stomach.

The Origins of FROZEN: A look at how the idea for the film was conceived and executed by Green. (He wrote the script while producing GRACE.) There's also a bit about pre-production, financing and scouting locations.

Three Below Zero: This wittily-titled featurette delves in to the casting process and finding the perfect three actors to torture in the mountains.

Shooting Through It: My favorite of the bunch, this one shows some of the difficulties of filming, especially at a low budget, from actually getting your equipment up a mountain to filming on a real ski lift fifty feet in the air. It's this kind of stuff you take for granted when enjoying a movie from the comfort of your own home.

Surviving FROZEN: Another fascinating feature, Surviving takes you behind the scenes of the grueling shoot and what the cast and crew had to go through. Things like below-zero temps, working with real wolves, the joys of spending all day in a ski lifeóthat kind of stuff. A highly entertaining and informative watch.

Trailers and an Easter Egg that shouldn't be too hard to find.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
FROZEN is a tense and effective claustrophobic thriller and proof that you don't need scary monsters or serial killers to get under an audience's skin. The Blu-Ray is filled with pretty much everything you could want to know about the film, so for fans of the genre or Adam Green's previous work, this is a good option.

Extra Tidbit: To reiterate, there was no green screen or special effects used. The cast was really filmed on an actual ski lift in the mountains at real freezing temperatures. Somewhere Russell Crowe eats donuts in his heated trailer.
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