Adam Green’s (Hatchet) horror thriller about 3 youths getting accidentally left and stuck on a ski lift after it gets shut down for the week. Frozen isn’t so much a horror film as it is a thriller, much in the vein of Open Water. It’s more of a survival tale where natural elements are the killer.
On Mount Holliston, snowboarders Dan Walker, his girlfriend Parker O’Neil and his best friend Joe Lynch don’t have enough money to buy cable car tickets. Parker reluctantly bribes the lift operator with a hundred dollars. When the system is nearing closure, they push the operator to let them have one last run. After letting the trio go, the operator suddenly needs to resolve a problem at the base. His colleague misunderstands his instructions and stops the cable car after 3 other skiers come down shortly after, leaving the trio of snowboarders stranded on the chairlift high above the ground. When they see that the lights of the ski resort had been turned off, they need to make a choice: leave the chairlift or freeze to death.
Frozen is pretty much a straight to DVD title (with a very limited theatrical release), but given the performances and production value, it could have been a full theatrical release. More importantly, it could have been a successful theatrical release given the right release window. Frozen does for skiers what Jaws did for swimmers.
As I stated earlier, performances are top notch. Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead) does a great job as the over confident boyfriend to Parker O’Neil (Emma Bell from the upcoming The Walking Dead series), trying to integrate his new girlfriend into what should have been a “guys” weekend. Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from X-Men) is the somewhat jealous friend Joe Lynch, trying hard to accept the fact that the dynamics of the relationship he has with his best friend are slowly changing. Emma Bell and Shawn Ashmore have some pretty powerful moments in the film where they draw on each other’s emotions, and watching the special features shows the depth of their experience on set.
There were stories of people passing out during the screenings due to the graphic nature of the violence. Most of the violence in the film I found to be restrained and relevant. There were many opportunities for Green to go overboard, but he didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there are some disturbing scenes, and the gore was very realistic when it was shown, but it was never on-screen long enough to fully digest its effect. The wolf attack scene for example, although the full attack was filmed in gory detail, it was actually more effective by just showing Parker and Lynch reacting to the evisceration. For the gore mavens, the scene is actually included on the Blu Ray in the deleted scenes section.
Speaking of deleted scenes… the Special Features section of the Blu Ray is pretty packed with excellent material. Two great commentaries, 4 featurettes that run almost an hour and a half, over 6 minutes of deleted scenes with Adam Green’s commentaries, a trailer and a small Easter egg in which the crew talks about a true ghost story that happened on the lift. The big guys (studios) could really learn something from the little guys. These low budget productions make it so much easier to hand over your money. Blu Ray discs should be abundant with extra material, and Frozen doesn’t disappoint.
Overall, the video transfer is excellent, the audio is great, and the film is a thrilling ride where survival is impeded by a 50ft jump and a pack of hungry wolves. Frozen is just as much a surprise as Green’s first film Hatchet. Any fan of this genre would be wise to run out and grab this gem. It’s worth every penny! Frozen is available now on Blu Ray!