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Blu-Ray Review: Adam Green’s ‘Frozen’ Might Leave You Cold

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Adam Green is arguably the biggest name in horror right now with “Hatchet II” opening in theaters this month and both “Hatchet” and “Frozen” released on Blu-ray in the last few weeks. Horror fans love filmmakers with unique personality and Green definitely has that to spare but he has yet to make the film that truly breaks him in this genre junkie’s mind. It certainly isn’t the deeply-flawed “Frozen.”

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

“Frozen” played spectacularly when it unspooled at the Sundance Film Festival for an obvious reason — it works better when you’re literally at a base of a mountain not unlike the scene of the film’s nightmarish set-up. Green deserves credit for discovering a new arena for chills and spills, but “Frozen” would have worked better as a short film and cracks when stretched to a scant ninety minutes. Green still knows how to milk a moment for all its gory value and I truly believe he has yet to produce his best work (and have yet to see “Hatchet II”) but “Frozen” simply doesn’t deliver on its undeniably original set-up.

Frozen was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 28th, 2010
Frozen was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 28th, 2010
Photo credit: Anchor Bay Films

I love horror movies that can be summed up as simply as “Frozen” — three bickering skiers get stuck on a chairlift for a weekend. The trio includes a pretty boy named Dan (Kevin Zegers), his smooth-talking best friend Joe (Shawn Ashmore), and Dan’s girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell). Joe wanted it to be a guy’s weekend and isn’t too happy that Parker is even there and the three argue, flirt, joke, and only seem remotely interested in actually skiing.

And here’s one of the essential problems of “Frozen.” None of the three are particularly easy to care about. The film would have been far more effective if one could identify with at least one of the only three people in the film (except, of course, the requisite Kane Hodder cameo) and that never happens. They’re bickering from the beginning and Green is a much better director than a writer. To be blunt, the dialogue in “Frozen” is awful. And we have to hear a lot of it during the padded-like-a-snowsuit set-up. It’s twenty-three minutes until the inciting incident and while I usually appreciate character-building, when it’s through dialogue that sounds more juvenile than a CW soap it would have been better off without it.

Frozen was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 28th, 2010
Frozen was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 28th, 2010
Photo credit: Anchor Bay Films

It’s closing time when our three characters get stuck on a chairlift halfway up the mountain, high in the air, and with bad weather on the horizon. Not only is the mountain closed but it’s Sunday night and the slope doesn’t open again till Friday. Cue the wolves. And then the talk about heights. And then the screaming, crying, freezing, and dying — not necessarily in that order. One thing we can take away from “Frozen” should we ever be stuck in this situation – don’t fall asleep in a snowstorm anywhere near a metal bar.

One of the disappointments of “Frozen” is the lack of spatial perspective. Green bizarrely chose to shoot most of the action from the ground or the lift in front of our heroes, losing the chance to create vertigo or fear over the actual height. He should spent way more time in the chair building tension. Why have twenty minutes of build and then panic mere minutes after the inciting incident? He drags out the opening and then shoots the rest like a runaway train. The pacing is off. We never get the sense of time passing on the actual chair when we know that one of the worst things about a situation like this would be the mentally-draining ticking of the clock.

To be fair, there are elements that work and they are elements enhanced by Blu-ray. Green’s sound design team works wonders with wind and the sound of a creaking lift chair. And you should hear the sound of a body being crunched by wolves in Master HD Audio. The makeup team deserves props as well. Horror fans sort of owe it to themselves to see skin-on-metal in HD.

It’s so easy to appreciate “Frozen” on a technical level that it allows one to hold out hope for what Green does next. He will surely make it up the mountain sometime soon instead of just getting halfway there.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Adam Green and Actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, & Emma Bell
o Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt and Editor Ed Marx
o Catching Frostbite: The Origins of “Frozen”
o Three Below Zero
o Shooting Through It
o Beating The Mountain: Surviving “Frozen”
o Deleted Scenes
o Trailer

“Frozen” stars Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, and Emma Bell. It was written and directed by Adam Green. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 28th, 2010. It is rated R and runs 93 minutes.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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