Tuesday, January 31, 2017

#2,299. Frozen (2010)

Directed By: Adam Green

Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers

Tag line: "Fight to Survive"

Trivia: Twisted Sister's Dee Snider is the voice from the top of the mountain who announces "Last chair is through."

It is a horrifying scenario: stuck in a ski lift for the better part of a whole week, in freezing cold temperatures, a hundred or so feet above the ground.

What would you do?

The characters in Adam Green’s Frozen find themselves in this very situation, and will try several things over the course of the movie to keep from freezing to death.  Yet the most frightening aspect of this very tense film is the fact they’re in this predicament in the first place. As nerve-racking as Frozen can be at times, nothing quite compares to the terrifying notion that something like this could happen to any one of us.

College students Dan (Kevin Zegers) and Joe (Shawn Ashmore) have been friends since they were kids. Occasionally, the two spend a Sunday afternoon at the local ski resort, where, aside from hitting the slopes, they check out a few of the area’s more attractive snow bunnies. 

On this particular Sunday, however, Dan has invited his girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell) along, and seeing as she’s not an experienced skier, the trio will spend most of the day on the beginner’s course. 

As evening approaches, Joe complains that they haven’t yet made a full run. So, to appease his friend, Dan has Parker flirt with the lift operator, hoping he’ll allow them to ride to the top without a daily pass (which they couldn’t afford). The operator reluctantly agrees, and the three enjoy the last few hours skiing down the mountain.

Once darkness sets in, the majority of the resort’s guests head for home. But instead of calling it a day, Dan, Joe, and Parker decide to make one final run. Unfortunately, the lift stalls before they reach the top. Joe and Dan try their best to calm a frightened Parker, telling her this happens all the time, but when the lights suddenly go black, the three realize they’ve been forgotten, and are now stranded in mid-air!

With the resort shut down for the next 5 days and nighttime temperatures that drop well below freezing, Dan, Joe and Parker know they’ll have to do something drastic to escape this deadly dilemma. But with each new option potentially more dangerous than the last, they can’t help but wonder if they’ll die before they ever get off the mountain.

The three main characters in Frozen are your typical cinematic college kids, and as a result aren’t very interesting at first. That changes, however, once their life or death struggle begins, at which point we start to learn a little more about each of them. 

Still, it’s not the characters that make Frozen an unforgettable motion picture; it’s the seemingly real-life horror story that plays out over the course of its run time. Though Frozen is not based on an actual event, you can see this happening, and the movie is all the more chilling for it (2003’s Open Water, about two divers who are stranded in the middle of the ocean when their chartered boat leaves them behind, is thematically similar to Frozen, and that film was inspired by a true story).

Even with the majority of it set in a single location, director Adam Green manages to generate plenty of tension throughout Frozen, keeping us poised on the edge of our seats. And while the film does have a few shocks and surprises hidden up its sleeve, as well as a moment or two that are tough to watch (what happens to one character’s hand will have you wincing in pain), it’s the possibility of such a thing occurring in real life that makes this 2010 thriller an unnerving experience.

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