Director: Adam Green
Three college students on a fun times ski trip get stuck on a chair lift 50 feet up in the air. As the ski resort closes down and the imminent realization that they will be there for a week (till it opens again) kicks in; our trio attempts to get the f*ck off the lift with their lives intact… shit doesn’t go as planned.
I first heard of ADAM GREEN’S FROZEN when it created quite the stir at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in January. The buzz was good, peeps were fainting at screenings, it sounded like my cup of blood. I was pumped! Then it got a limited theatrical release via Anchor Bay; flick never came out in my neck of the graveyard and due to circumstances, it took till now for me to finally tap it. And am in a tizzy that I did, as Frozen was quite the twisted little film, without a doubt, Adam Green's best work thus far.
It's a shame that this one’s theatrical release didn’t have more Roids behind it as it should have been a smash hit instead of going under the mainstream radar the way it did. Much like a beef-jerky starved cougar, FROZEN made all the right moves early on. First it introduced us to a realistic group of young adults who yes weren’t always likable and didn’t always make the best choices, but hence the realism. They felt like GENUINE college students in the way they spoke (the dialogue was on the ball here, loved the movie references... I bought it), interacted with each other and the manner in which their gray matter processed the dire happenings they were faced with. Emma Bell as Parker, Kevin Zegers as Dan and Shawn Ashmore as Joe Lynch all deserve a round of Tequila shots and a stripper of their choice for their brave and emotionally charged performances. Bell in particular was a revelation here; even when her character was being a pain in the ass; I was sympathizing with her…because she felt like a real person. The dame really brought it home, specially once the shit hit the fan, if horror had its own Oscars, she should be up for one.
On his end; Green was on top of his game behind the lens. I so dug how he took the time to build up his characters, allowing us to get to KNOW them before swinging the hammer down, how he slowly but surely evolved his narrative and I so grooved on his knack of shooting the mechanics of the chair lift in a menacing HORROR-ish manner. It made for delicious foreboding. Moreover his camera was always where it should be; under hand shots, intimate close ups, glorious wide shots of the striking snowy surroundings and he knew when to show and when to suggest in terms of the horror scenarios that eventually kicked in. And huge props for shooting the entire thing practically; no green screen, sound stage or CGI shenanigans here! The picture was shot on a lift, in the snowy mountains, 50 feet off the ground. To say that approach jacked up the authenticity and intensity of the piece to f*ck yeah level would be an understatement. Add to all that genre loving; a slew of toe nail biting/ cringe inducing scenarios, surprising turn of events, a powerful score by Andy Garfield, that augmented the impact of the whole, efficient cinematography and a handful of sly horror wink-winks (Was that Kane Hodder? You bet!); and you get a tight little thriller. Think Hitchcock if he was a hardcore horror fan!
Now, there are 2 things that stop me from giving this one a perfect score. Once we were introduced to the 3 main characters, I tested the film. I put out a guess as to their fate, using Horror 101 Jedi logic. And I was 100% right. It would have been nice, if the flick would have stepped out of the usual (and I think unconscious at this point) “who lives, who dies” mold to back-hand me stupid. No dice. Lastly; look I didn’t agree with all the moves the characters did in terms of getting out of the frostbitten bind they were in. But it didn’t bother me. Why? Cause how the heck do I REALLY know how I would react in a situation like this, under stress, mammoth cold and the pressure of having death looming above my shoulder. Till I’m on the chairlift and I have to deal with it; I don't know shit. But there are two things that nobody in their right minds would do: 1- Not huddle to keep warm. 2- Not cover up one’s bare hand while sleeping. There’s irrational under strain and then there’s plain stupidity to serve the plot.
With that yapped; FROZEN was Adam Green at his best; solid script, impactful (is that a word?) direction, ideal casting, bang on performances and tension galore. If you’ve missed it when it briefly flirted with the big screen; I urge ya to seek it out and watch it around Christmas Time; a perfect way to get in the Holiday spirit… horror style!
Yes there were some gory bits at play and I won’t give them out here. That would spoil how some of the flick goes down. You will cringe and cry for Mommy… have no fear.
T & A
It’s set outside; in the freezing cold… do the math!
FROZEN lived up to its hype and is definitely one of my top genre films of 2010. Tension filled, gloriously shot, brilliantly acted with a solid script and a handful of visceral bits; this sour treat hit the spot. Yes the fate of each character was predictable (to me anyways) and they did do dumb moves that went beyond me disagreeing with them; but those moments were minor and seldom in what was an overall gem of a horror film. Mucho recommended!
Look out for cameos by Adam Green director Joe Lynch as 2 pissed dudes on a chairlift.
Adam Green and director of photography Will Barratt shot all of the moving chairlift scenes themselves since the camera crew was scared of heights.
The film was shot at Snowbasin, Ogden, Utah