Wednesday, February 17, 2010
'Frozen,' directed by Adam Green and starring Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore and newcomer Emma Bell, is one the most intensely gut wrenching, well crafted and well acted horror/thrillers I have seen in a long time. After hearing reports of audience members fainting and throwing up at Sundance, I patiently waited for the film's theatrical run to begin. Unfortunately it only opened in a few random cinemas here but no bother, I was happy to be one of only 5 other people in the audience when I saw it this week.
Zegers and Ashmore play long time friends and Bell plays Zegers' girlfriend. The three of them go on a skiing trip and find themselves stranded on a chairlift, forced to make harrowing life-or-death choices to avoid freezing to death as the resort won't reopen for a week and no one knows they are stuck.
The first thing the film has going for it is that the characters are instantly likable and relatable. They are not the typical, cliched 2 dimensional horror/thriller cut outs that prove themselves so annoying or stupid that they deserve to die. You start caring about them from the beginning (it doesn't hurt that Zegers is hot). On top of that, the actors deliver excellent, realistic performances.
Director Adam Green exhibits true talent, slowly turning the screws of tension and suspense until you are at the edge of your seat. It is rare that I want to hide behind my hands during a film but this one had me ducking into my seat, trying to put distance between me and the horror on screen. Green also impresses by flipping between moments of restraint/subtlety (keeping violence offscreen, letting characters talk things through) and moments of terror (gore).
'Frozen' is brutal and unrelenting but rare for a horror/thriller, it is also smart and emotionally involving. Highly recommended- unlike Green's prevous slasher 'Hatchet' (2007) which should be avoided at all costs.
I'm throwing in some completely unrelated shots of Kevin Zegers just for the sake of it: