Written by: Daniel McDonald
Yeah, yeah, I know…it seems I’ve gotten my FROZENS mixed up, haven’t I? Although the grisliest moments in Adam Green’s extremely well directed and photographed 2010 Canadian thriller (and believe me folks, they’re brief but grisly enough to illicit a very loud ” oh ****! ” from yours truly) FROZEN, aren’t nearly as grisly as the thought of a cinema filled with 5-year old girls singing LET IT GO!
Unfortunate not only to carry the title that brings one and (until a few hours ago) only one film in Cinematic/merchandizing/future Broadway adaptation/Gazillion dollar profit earning history to mind- 2003s Animated juggernaut… uhh FROZEN, but also being barely marketed and released (even though the electric tension of this white knuckle horror rollercoaster caused fainting and walk outs at its stunning Sundance premier). I honestly cannot fathom the reasons why.
Mr. Green’s ability to navigate genre waters had already been proven by the HATCHET films (although this gem with fangs brings him to an entirely different level). While being (in my humble but very enthusiastic opinion) a 90-minute “will they, or won’t they?” mini-Masterpiece (let’s face it, I LOVED this film).
It obviously cost little to produce. So why not spend a dime or two getting it “out there?” Yes, thoughts of 2003s enjoyable OPEN WATER as well as last year’s THE SHALLOWS and, unfortunately this year’s 47 METERS DOWN come to mind. They were all generously thrust upon us by countless trailers and television ads, where as the only folks knowing of FROZEN’s existence were parents dealing with children screaming “that’s the WRONG movie!” which probably planted negative seeds of what this film actually can and does do very well, thank you.
The story of three friends (a truly remarkable Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zagers and Emma Bell who carry this film with organic chemistry, emotional depth, honesty in a script that calls for every color in the humanity rainbow and they more than meet the challenge) on a day long skiing adventure filled with petty jealousies, hidden rivalries and sometimes clever sometimes clumsy dialogue (as author, Mr. Green’s minor misstep), Through a series of slightly contrived, but directed and performed with such charm, the (sometimes ) heavy handed “shape of things to come” sub-textual ooohs and ahhhs go down fairly smoothly.
Let’s face it, the real star here is Mr. Green, who cut his sharp and getting sharper claws on genre television. Though this is basically a one-set project, Mr. Green’s uncanny ability to know when and very much how to surprise us with camera angles and movements that let us see closely enough to capture emotions on a character’s face, and immediately remind us of how geographically vulnerable they are. Green’s visionary storytelling is so well represented by the hand in hand cinematography – Will Barret, editing – Ed Marks and surprisingly MEGA effective sound execution – Joe Barnett, never have I been affected just as much with what the characters are hearing as well as what they are seeing (Chris Hansens make up FX may have you screaming, as I did). Andy Garfield’s score effectively conveys fear in moments of silence as well as escalating terror.
I could say more, but unlike a fin coming at you in the water, there are so many levels of peril to discover in this blazingly successful horror thriller enjoy them on your own.