Thursday 16 December 2010

Review: Frozen

Year: 2010
Director: Adam Green
Screenplay: Adam Green
Starring: Shaun Ashmore, Emma Bell, Kevin Segers

Synopsis is here

Despite my interest in the genre, I haven't watched many horror films this year. Paranormal Activity 2? Could wait for the DVD. Saw 7? Stopped at Saw 5. A Serbian Film? Just came out in London and not spending that much on a ticket to see it. Despite coming with those half arsed excuses on why I haven't watched these movies; the main answer is clear: I just wasn't interested in that much this year. Some titles have aroused a certain amount of interest (The Ward, Human Centipede etc) but nothing really came out and grabbed me...Well, there was Black Swan but that's another story.

So distanced from the genre was I, that it was quite surprising I even bothered with Adam Green's Frozen. There wasn't anything in particular that made me want to see it other than it looks a bit different from the current slew of remakes and sequels baying for attention. It helps that Green himself appears to be an interesting horror director, with an affection to horror cinema that rivals one Eli Roth.

After the his debut slasher Hatchet, it seems that Green has decided to go in a very different direction for his next feature. A non-supernatural tale of survival horror; Frozen works on an very interesting premise. The idea of getting stuck on a sky-lift may not have crossed too many peoples minds for an idea for a horror film, however, Green pulls it off quite well with a generous amount of dread and likable characters to feel for. How everything comes off is far fetched, but still manages to give a certain amount of plausibility to it's universe.

One of the most interesting things I found about the movie is that; while here in England one of the biggest news stories going on is of course the student protests, Frozen reminded me of the kind of students I remember knowing and that I still see around town. One of the big themes here play on what we've seen before in many a slasher flick, in which know it all students with their casual deceits get more than they bargained for. It works a treat here. Our three leads have enjoyed not having to pay "top dollar" and getting a free ride, but the idea that human error and nature itself doesn't swing to these rules just gives this movie the right amount of cynicism to keep things ticking along. The idea that you shouldn't get anything for free runs not only through the films beginning, but also when the tension reaches peak (pun not intended) later on when pleasantries have turned into bitterness and then grief after the fate of one of the characters is ultimately decided.

Green keeps everything compact, keeping the action with these people and keeping the tension there with you. There's enough worry in the film that when the most outrageous element comes into play (Wolves) I  generally wanted to know what would happen to these people. There's also pivotal moment that had me cringing with glee as it kept the stakes high enough.

I can't say the film stayed with me too long. As you can read, I have had a hard time writing about the feature. It's not something that I could even imagine many horror fans rushing out to watch again straight after their first viewing. But there's was enough in this to give the film a rent and possibly have a talk everything afterward. I enjoyed Ashmore's performance, liked Emma Bell enough and didn't disagree with Kevin Zegers too much. I also enjoyed the effects of the cold on these people as well as the banter (which turns into bitching). The visuals are fine and I can't say at any time I was bored. Full faith restored in horror films...still not seeing a lot on the horizon but with stuff like this coming out, I haven't lost loyalty completely.