Sunday, October 03, 2010
Best buddies Dan and Joe have an annual tradition of spending one weekend a year skiing various New England slopes as a way to decompress and leave their problems behind. Unfortunately for Joe one of his “problems” comes along for the weekend in the form of Dan’s ditzy girlfriend, Parker. Parker is not a very good snowboarder and the day is mostly spent on the bunny slopes, much to the chagrin of Joe. Joe eventually expresses his frustrations and declares that he is going to hit the expert slopes for the last run of the day. The others agree to join him. As the sun begins to set and the resort starts ending its daily operations, the cheapskate trio convinces a lift operator to allow them on for one more ride. This proves to be a fatal mistake.
Through a series of misunderstandings the lift operator switches with another, who is unaware that there are people still en route to the top of the mountain. Midway up they are horrified when the lift stops moving and all the lights go out. Their predicament soon becomes apparent when their cries go unanswered and there is a missed opportunity with a snowplow passing through. It is here where the film really begins and I would recommend anyone willing to watch this icy mess to start their viewing at this point.
There is plenty of time for the three to digest the true horror of their situation. Fear evolves into anger as the three begin pointing fingers at one another in an effort to place blame somewhere. As the night wears on and the temperature drops to zero they conclude that drastic measures must be taken lest they inevitably perish on the lift. Was that a wolf howl in the distance?
I love “predicament” stories and Frozen dovetails nicely with similar films including the Open Water series and The Ruins. These kinds of films are perfect fodder for asking yourself what you would do if you were one of the characters. Unfortunately Frozen only partially delivers the goods. Although there is some gore and tense moments, the story is ultimately wrapped up too easily and there are missed opportunities for some truly terrifying situations.
There are also a few nitpicks that anyone who has ever skied would have caught during the making of this film. For example, despite the falling temperatures, never once to we see the characters’ breath. Also, for anyone who has ever ridden a ski lift even in the best of weather conditions would know that you never have your gloves off lest risk almost immediate frost bite. Parker keeps one of her bare hands exposed to the elements for the majority of the story, which is utterly ridiculous. Finally, why not use a cell phone? The last time I skied I actually filmed the slope with my phone while simultaneously emailing it to Whirlygirl. The characters never once mention cell phones, which in 2010 makes little sense – at least establish that they are unable to acquire a signal!
Perhaps I’m being a bit too hard on Frozen. Ultimately I liked the characters and the setting. I just think that a little more attention to detail and some added moments of terror would have punched up my rating. Check it out for fun but lower your expectations.