This review is part of the Final Girl Film Club over there at the very excellent Final Girl blog. Please click through and partake of the awesomeness!
I feel I am very well qualified to review Frozen and I'll tell you why. Frozen is a little horror movie in which three kids - two snowboarders and a skier - get stuck on a chairlift and must fight for their lives; I have been skiing for many, many years now (and will adamantly not admit to just how many, many years). Frozen is set in New England and gives shout-outs to some local ski mountains, including Okemo and Wachusett; I lived for most of my life in New England. Frozen was filmed on location at Snowbasin Resort in Utah; not only do I now live in Utah, but I've actually skied at Snowbasin. Clearly, there is no one better qualified than I!
The story, in a nutshell, is this: Parker, Dan and Joe have taken off from college for a ski day. Being poor college students, they don't want to pay for tickets and Parker, Dan's girlfriend and perennial thorn in Dan's best buddy Joe's side, flirts with the liftie enough to ride for free. When they jump on the chair for one last run, none of the lift operators are paying attention and the lift gets shut down with the kids stranded about fifty feet in the air. They're stuck. And it's Sunday night, and the little ski resort doesn't open again 'til Friday, so they're screwed. What are their options? Jump from the chair, climb the cable to a lift tower or freeze to death. Oh, and I almost forgot this part: there is a pack of very hungry wolves milling about in the woods below. I don't want to completely spoil it for you but two of the three options outlined above are explored by the kids, and two of the three characters get eaten by wolves.
I had some nitpicks with Frozen. There isn't so much foreshadowing as fore-let-me-spell-it-out-for-you when the kids (pre-stranding) discuss what would be the worst ways to die: one thinks jumping from a height would be the worst, while another thinks knowing an animal was coming for you - Jaws is used as an example - would be just horrible. When Dan insists that Parker wear a helmet because she's a beginner, she whines that "only kids wear helmets" but that is patently not true and, having skied both back east and out west, I would say that probably 80% of skiers/boarders wear helmets these days. Parker drops a mitten and then spends half the movie holding onto the metal safety bar - I promise you that would never happen: she'd wrap her hand in her hat and stick it inside her parka. When the chair stops, stranding them, they can still see the lights from the base lodge down the mountain, but when SPOILER Parker finally makes her way to safety, it takes her forever, stumbling through the woods until she comes out onto a road at last - even though the lodge just wasn't that far away. Pluswhich, I'm not sure it's been confirmed that there are any wolves in New England - and a pack of that size would certainly not go unnoticed.
Picky complaints aside, Frozen is actually a decent little movie. The focus of the whole film is on these three characters and they acquit themselves pretty well with solid acting and character development. It's not slashy or gory (although I did shut my eyes when Parker pulled her frozen hand off the metal chair), with all the wolf action taking place off-screen, but the actors' reactions and the sound effects are extremely effective to ratchet up the tension and the fright factor. I rather liked it (and it's a damn sight better than the last snowboarder horror flick I watched, Shredder - ugh.)
Any skier knows that the scenario in this movie is preposterous, but that doesn't mean that every time the chairlift lurches to a stop, a little voice way back in your head says, "I hope we don't get stuck up here." And ultimately that's what makes Frozen work.
4 hours ago