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August 18, 2011

Frozen

by Franz Patrick


Frozen (2010)
★★★ / ★★★★

Three college students (Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, Emma Bell) decided to go snowboarding in the mountains. They didn’t have enough money so the girl had to flirt with the conductor of the chairlift (Ed Wackerman) in order for them to gain admittance. During the trip, there was a lot of growing tension between Lynch and his best friend’s girlfriend because Lynch felt like the trip should have been more about bonding with Dan instead of teaching Parker how to snowboard. Eventually, their luck turned against them when the trio found themselves stuck in chairlift while on their way up the mountain for a final run. I enjoyed “Frozen,” mostly in parts, because it was able to take something as simple as sitting on a chairlift and making it a horrifying experience. It played upon what most people are afraid of: heights, freezing to death, and being eaten alive. As grim as their situation was, I was glad that it had unintentional laughs and some uncomfortable chuckles, such as when Parker couldn’t help but scratch the frostbite on her face, in order to break some of the tension. With situational horror pictures like this, it’s too easy to get caught up in being one-note because the filmmakers, especially independent projects, want their work to be taken seriously. There were some gross-out moments like when Parker woke up, found her hand stuck on the safety rail, and had to peel it away slowly. It was messy, bloody and worthy of every flinch it got from me. However, I wished the characters were smarter. One of them decided to jump off the chairlift early on. Naturally, we knew it wasn’t going to work because it was too early in the movie for the solution to be handed to us. Regardless, I kept asking why the character felt the need to jump when there were other options they could have tried prior. There was one solution I came up with which was not used in the film (but it did come close). If one of the three had been a Physics student, they probably would have thought about unscrewing the chairlift from its support and used it to break their fall. There was a chance they could still get hurt, but it beats foolishly jumping off and breaking one’s bones. Nevertheless, I admired the film’s simplicity. There was no serial killer so it felt believable. It was a battle between man and nature. I felt that with each passing minute, the characters’ desperation became that much more intense. There were some questionable logic (like none of the three was ever thirsty) but those could easily be overlooked by most audiences. Maybe on their next trip (assuming there is a next one), Dan, Lynch and Parker could put their destination on their Facebook status. That way, if they didn’t show up for class, people who cared about them would know where to look.

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