Frozen DVD review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Momentum Pictures
Written and directed by Adam Green
2010, Region 2 PAL, 90 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 18th October 2010
Emma Bell as Parker O'Neil
Shawn Ashmore as Joe Lynch
Kevin Zegers as Dan Walker
Three people trapped in a ski lift. How scary can it be? Very, if Adam Green’s latest movie, Frozen, is anything to go by.
When three friends, Dan, his girlfriend Parker and his best friend Joe, take a weekend skiing trip to Mount Holliston, they take the cheap route by bribing the ski-lift attendant to let them ride without passes. It works well, aside from Parker’s lousy skiing – much to the annoyance of Joe – until the last ride of the day. Darkness is closing, as well as a bad weather front, but the friends convince the attendant to let them ride for one last time. A series of coincidences sees the lift shut down before they reach the top, with no-one realizing the trio is still on board. It’s Sunday night, in a resort that won’t open again until Friday, and the friends are faced with a choice; try to get down from their 50ft in the air cradle or stay put and freeze to death.
Early on, Frozen sets up the relationship between the characters that will be the focus for the movie. Dan and Joe are lifelong friends who take regular ski breaks to get away from the grind of daily life. Parker, as far as Joe is concerned, is intruding on the ‘guy time’ and he’s a little peeved that Dan has broken the golden rule by bringing his girl along. It’s not a tension that’s played strong early on but it does rear its head again later in the movie.
Faced with the possibility of being stuck on the lift, the small group starts off with the natural belief that someone will come along soon enough. When it becomes apparent that the only glimpse of salvation they had was probably the last, the tension rises and they force themselves to look for other ways to survive. With packs of wolves circling in the forest below, the height of the lift and the freezing weather are the least of their worries.
Adam Green has created a fairly unique wilderness horror with Frozen. The sense of abandonment and isolation is overwhelming and you can’t help but put yourself in their position. Would you jump? Not the greatest idea, as we find out. Would you wait it out? Or would you find another way to survive?
The movie would not have worked as well were it not for the cast, who are the perfect choice for the film. The three-way relationship creates an interesting scenario, especially Joe’s uneasy acceptance of Parker and Dan’s torn between best friend and girlfriend position. Up close and personal, the camera frames the three with occasional establishing shots showing the sheer drop to the ground as well as the open countryside. By staying right in the lift with the actors it creates claustrophobia in a wide-open space, if that’s possible.
To think that a 90 minute movie could be created in such a limited location is almost unthinkable, yet with an excellent script it is a running time that flies by. The interaction between the friends is equal parts touching, tense and terrifying and making nature the main protagonist works in the film’s favour. Early on we get a glimpse of a ‘Missing’ poster which could have tenuously set up a serial killer roaming the mountain, but rather it indicates the danger of getting lost out there. It's a turning point that could have gone either way, and I'm glad that Green stayed on the path of keeping the trio versus the environment and not introducing other antagonists.
I’ve never been overly impressed by wilderness horror as there always seems to be some obvious way that the characters could get out of their predicament. Not so with Frozen, as Green has written an “oh no you wouldn’t” to every “I would do this…” you can throw at it. It’s ordinary people with ordinary attitudes in an extraordinary situation, and that’s what makes film so frightening.
Video and Audio:
The feature is presented in its original 2.35:1 ratio and looks fantastic. No sign of any problems during the many night scenes and nicely balanced in the daytime.
The audio does a nice job of immersing the viewer in the rough weather but outside of that there's not a great emphasis on using the sountrack to enhance the film.
Special Features include an audio commentary by writer-director Adam Green and stars Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers and Emma Bell, as well as a series of behind the scenes features focusing on various aspects of the production. The features have a combined runtime that easily matches the main movie so there's plenty to get your teeth into. They are: Catching Frostbite: The Origins of Frozen, Three Below Zero, Shooting Through It and Beating the Mountain: Surviving Frozen.
The documentary pieces are followed up by a selection of deleted scenes and the movie's trailer.
Additional extras exclusive to the Blu-ray include: audio commentary by cinematographer Will Barratt and editor Ed Marx, deleted scenes with audio commentary and an extra featurette Chair 92.
Click a cover to purchase.
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