Retro Review: FROZEN (2010){0}

I’m a big fan of the “what would YOU do?” thriller; the kind that asks how you’d react to A) being left in the ocean with hungry sharks, B) being trapped in a phone booth by a mad sniper, or C) being accidentally abandoned while riding a ski-lift high above a frigid mountain. Oh, you haven’t heard that last one yet? Yep, that’s the premise of the nifty new thriller Frozen from writer/director Adam Green (Hatchet).

In Frozen, three unfortunate young people are left dangling above a freezing mountain. For multiple days. Alone. You need only hear the premise and your mental wheels start spinning: “Hell, I’d jump down! No, I’d climb the big wire! Actually, I’d probably scream and whine and wait for help. Oh hell, I have no idea what I’d do. What happens in the movie?!?!?”

Obviously I’m not going to tell you what happens in the movie, but I can say that our good pal Adam Green has found a convincingly chilly way to prove that he’s not just a slasher machine. After a quick and amusing set-up in which we’re introduced to Joe (Shawn Ashmore), Parker (Emma Bell), and Dan (Kevin Zegers) as they scam their way into a free ski-lift pass, Act II delivers the ice-cold concept from a variety of unexpected angles: The resort is deserted, night is coming, and let’s just say things get a lot worse than just plain old chilly. Our poor heroes must contend with not only temperature, but hunger and thirst, anger and desperation, and a variety of threats both internal and external.

The leads create a trio of characters who are slightly obnoxious at the outset, but become a lot more interesting (and therefore worthy of some sympathy) as their plight goes on. Beyond the fine performances, Frozen earns points by finding new and creepy ways to display the trio’s treetop trial. We get angles from below the frigid chair-lift, as well as above, beside, inside, and (when things call for it) pretty up close and disturbingly personal. Shot well, moodily scored, cut tight, and impressively concise overall, Frozen is one of those horror thrillers that might not give you nightmares this evening — but you’ll definitely recall this freezing flick the next time you go skiing. For the next 15 years or so.