Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Frozen (2010)

Fear 5/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5

Simply put, Frozen is one of the most intense film watching experiences I've ever had. It's cringe inducing, anxiety stirring, and at times, very uncomfortable to watch. Although, once the madness kicks in, you won't be able peel your eyes away from it for a single second.

Now, critics of the film have made claims that it isn't factual. That your favorite lodge and ski lift has certain security measures in place to ensure that you never get stuck. And there is just no way that something like this would ever happen in real life. I loathe it when people disregard films because of a claim of it not being true to real life. Its a movie for chrissakes. Take it for what it is at face value and you'll find yourself ready to pee yourself silly while having a good time like I did.

OK, minor rant over with. The film is simple in set-up: a trio of friends, 2 life long guy pals and the girlfriend of one of them go on a weekend ski trip to get away from the trappings of everyday life. The girlfriend uses her wiles to convince the ski lift operator to let them on for a fraction of the cost they'd normally be charged. They banter about for the first 20 minutes or so of the film as they ski and share a lift ride, letting us into their lives for a moment to flesh out the characters before the terror ensues.

After a day of skiing and a pit stop, they beg for one last run before the slopes are shut down for the night. The operator reluctantly agrees and let's them get back on the lift. As the kids head up, the operator gets called into his bosses office and another employee takes over. But he tells him (before shutting down the lift for the night) that one last set of kids is headed down the slope and to not shut off the lift until they get down. The only problem? There was another set of kids before our trio and as soon as they skid to a halt, the employee shuts off the lift and heads home.

At the beginning, our trio laughs about it as the first time up the slope the lift also stopped. They joke about terrible ways of dying and what type of pizza they're going to eat when they get back down. But in an instant, with the shutting off of the ski lift lights, the kids go from semi-nervous laughter to straight out pants shitting terrified.

I think I'm going to stop right here as there are two gut wrenching scenes which happen hereafter where members of our trio attempt to escape. To reveal them, would spoil the surprise of the film and the jarring effect each one has. What I will say is that the character development is phenomenal as you genuinely care and empathize with these kids. They aren't of the thinly painted type in most horror fare (i.e. the slutty one, the asshole, etc.). These are 'real' kids going through a 'real' hellish situation. And the practical effects. Oh man, the practical effects are stomach churning. They had me curled in the fetal position on the couch on more than one occasion.

Do yourself a favor and check out Frozen, ASAP. I don't know if it will do what the advertising purports: 'It'll do for skiing what Jaws did for swimming.' But I certainly don't plan on getting on a ski lift anytime soon.

Cortez the Killer


Emily said...

Yup, Frozen gave me one more reason to never go skiing. Good point about the characters and practical effects: both are so skillfully done and show such a clear divide of well-made genre films verse crappy churned out unoriginal stuff.

Dom said...

Bang on review, man. Great character development and some brutal suspense. Plus you can never go wrong with Sarlacc Pit jokes. Saw this twice in theaters and loved it!

B-Movie Becky said...

Loved this movie. Was glad I had the chance to see it on the big screen during its limited theatrical release.

I so agree with you about the movies not being realistic thing...Geez. If I wanted to watch something realistic, I would film myself eating lunch and typing at the computer. Regardless, I just saw something in the news about a skier actually having this happen to him and he had to light fire to the cash in his pocket to get attention. So there movie snobs!

Cortez The Killer said...

@Emily, thanks. The fact that it brought a sense of realism is what made it so successful. It could have very easily have traversed down the path of just another superficial teenage horror film.

@Dom, thanks! Indeed, Star Wars jokes never get old and you can't go wrong!

@Becky, wow, now I REALLY don't want to ever get on a ski lift.

Chris Hallock said...

This will undoubtedly be in my top five for the year (probably #3).

What a harrowing flick, man! I cringed so many times. Mike and I got to see this on the big screen and it really made a difference in tone and atmosphere to be surrounding by those snowy mountains on that lift with the characters. I actually had to put my coat on.

Matt-suzaka said...

Okay, let's try this again...

It really chaps my ass when people complain about a film not being factual. It's a movie!!! Sure, some movies are supposed to be as realistic as possible, but there are plenty of films that simply live in a slight fantastical world, a world where giant sharks eat people, dudes go back in time and almost get boned by their mom and the earth is plagued by zombies.

You don't need to believe in God or the Devil to love and respect The Exorcist, let alone to consider it one of the greatest films ever made. Dudes (and dudettes) just hate to hate, and it only exposes them for what they are, movies snobs that are more concerned with being cool than loving movies.

Phew, can't believe I had to do that twice! Great review, CK, and I'm happy when people I know love movies like I do love a film like this. It deserves the appreciation and I wish there were more like it.

MarkusWelby1 said...

I live in Colorado and do quite a bit of skiing and I can tell you that this resort would have been the most poorly run in the history of ski resorts. having said that, I absolutely love this film. It's true that you have to let stuff go and just enjoy it. whenever the lift stopped this year.....I got a little nervous! Adam Green's best thus far!