Frozen (Matthew’s Take)

About an hour into Frozen, the film lost me. It only lost me for about 15 minutes, but it was enough to make me question why I was still watching it. For a horror/thriller film, this is almost unacceptable. What happens in this part is very simple: People talk about their past on a ski lift. That’s it, and it doesn’t have much else to do with the rest of the film.

It also seems odd, because we already know these characters. They were established right from the start, as they need to be in a film like this, and this fact renders the 15 minutes I’m talking about pointless. If you decide to watch Frozen, take this as a tip, and have a break during this scene. It serves no importance, symbolic or otherwise, and I would hazard a guess that it was included just to bring the film’s runtime up to “standard”.

I’ll offer one more word of advice so that you can get the most enjoyment possible out of the film: Suspend your disbelief. If you over analyze this movie, you will find a lot of plot points that don’t make complete sense, stupid character decisions, and overall a feeling that none of this movie actually could take place. It’s a horror movie, you can’t expect it to all fit properly, but in this case, it’s really noticeable just how far from reality this picture is.

The basic idea of Frozen is that 3 people (2 snowboarders and 1 skier), go on a ski lift late at night. They’ve bribed the lift operator, and he lets them on. He eventually gets relieved of his duty by someone else, someone who is unaware of their escapade. He ends up shutting down the lifts. They’re still on it. It’s Sunday, and the ski hill is only open on weekends. They are trapped for the next 5 days, with nobody coming to rescue them. The next move is theirs.

The film opens up with anything but horror. The three people talk fine, and they have a successful day skiing. It’s only when they go back, probably about 25 minutes into the film, when things start to get interesting. Really though, I wouldn’t have it any other way, Since we get this character building off the bat, it means that we care about them when things start to go south. Or at least, the film attempts to make us care, which is more than a lot of horror films can say.

What works best about Frozen is the psychological horror that it brings to the table. You are able to put yourself into the shoes of the characters and think, “what would I do”, all throughout the film. If you’ve ever gone on a ski lift, and it stops, there’s always that little nibbling thought in the back of your mind that makes you wonder how you would possibly get down from the lift. The actions the characters take may be ones that you think of, and when they fail or succeed, it makes you reconsider what you would try in order to escape the inevitable threat of freezing to death.

The suspension of disbelief comes primarily from two factors. For one, ski lifts have two operators, not just one, so that things like this won’t happen. Secondly, none of the characters bring a cell phone with them. This is explained, but it still doesn’t make much sense, especially when one of the characters even brings cigarettes with her. That’s right, apparently cigarettes are more important than a cell phone. See, suspension of disbelief is required in order to properly enjoy it.

If you do choose to overlook its flaws, then you should have a good time watching Frozen. It almost plays out more like a drama than anything else, but there are some truly thrilling and terrifying moments that will make you cringe in disgust. When the film premiered at Sundance, some people in the audience fainted during a couple of the scenes. Yes, it is fairly intense, so be wary of that if you have a light stomach.

Some of the restraints from a lower budget production to show through, mostly in the make-up job done during some of the scenes. They are inconsistent, to say the least, and it becomes fairly noticeable even if you aren’t paying close attention. And even though the film was actually shot on location, it doesn’t always feel that way. This might be due to some of the camera angles attempting to show how isolated the characters feel, by filming them against the black night sky, but it just felt cheap to me.

The cast is largely a bunch of somewhat unknown actors, only one of which actually does a good job. Shawn Ashmore is one of the three people stuck on the lift, and he plays the wise-cracking best friend. He fits his role perfectly, and is the only character I really cared about. The other two actors, Emma Bell and Kevin Zegers, were less interesting, less involved, and didn’t warrant much sympathy from me. Bell whines the whole time, and Zegers is too reserved to make me care. In fact, when his character does something monumentally stupid, I found myself cheering rather than being horrified.

I feel bad having to give out so many tips on how the best way to watch Frozen, and that likely means it isn’t a great film, but overall, it was a solid watch. I didn’t mind watching most of it, only that one segment in the middle. The majority, if you don’t look to far into it, is tense, sometimes crossing into the path of horrifying. It’s more psychological than anything else, and allows you to question what you’d do in the characters’ situation. It’s mostly fun, but also forgettable, with only a couple of scenes actually staying with you afterwards.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>