5 Stars

Frozen - Movie Review

There’s nothing that chills the soul more than the very thought of absolute isolation in life-and-death matters.  It’s an idea that haunts us all; a story that terrifies even the bitterest of souls.  Many horror films attempt to frame isolation within their narrative structure and many fail to impress this feeling upon its audience.  Frozen, directed and written by Adam Green (Hatchet) is an example of when filmmakers get it absolutely right.  Intense and harrowing, Frozen delivers its horror through intelligent means: practical suspense.

Frozen - shot entirely on location near Ogden, Utah - is the story of three skiers who get stuck on ski lift when the resort closes for the week.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Sure, but there’s a deceptive tone in the layering of the narrative.  Dan (Kevin Zegers) and best friend Joe (Shawn Ashmore) really wanted this ski trip to be a guys weekend.  Yet, Dan – ever the responsible boyfriend – can’t leave Parker (Emma Bell), his girlfriend, behind.  At least, not yet.  There’s an underlining pain in their conversation together.  It is obvious – for those paying attention – that he is on the verge with breaking things off with her.  He just doesn’t know how.  Smooth-talking Joe isn’t helping matters.  He doesn’t want her there either.  She’s a novice.  She isn’t a skier.  And she’s slowing them down.

Put out by the fact that they haven’t even hit the best slopes the mountain has to offer, Joe convinces Dan and Parker to take a late night lift back up the mountain.  There’s a storm coming, but they can beat it out.  If they hurry.  If.  One thing leads to another and, quite unexpectedly, the hurried trio finds themselves trapped on the ski lift as the resort shuts down for the week.  Alone without food, without light, without warmth, this trio finds out rather quickly what true cold; true terror really is.

Adam Green is one of the brightest filmmakers in the horror genre today.  While Hatchet may have disappointed with its many flaws, it also spoke of a true talent; a true spirit for the genre.  Frozen is the pay off of the promise.  Sharp and intelligently shot, Frozen provides several moments of inspired vertigo and intense spatial perspective courtesy of some fine camerawork provided by Will Barratt and Brian Sullivan.  It’s graphic and down-right stone cold in its calculated mixing of film perspectives.  Shot from high and low angles, Frozen provides just enough glimpses – from each actor’s perspective - to make the situation one of explicit horror and gut-wrenching fear.

In one exciting sequence after the initial shock of their situation sets in, the camera – completely from Dan’s perspective – follows him down as he leaps from the ski lift.  One would think that the camera would have to cut away as he hits the snow-packed ground, but it does not.  Falling with him, the camera completes the shot all to the grueling consequence of his attempt at getting help.  Yet, he survives the fall only to face another set of challenges.

The success of Frozen lies in its brutal one-two kick delivery toward its audience.  It’s a straight-forward narrative that pushes forward its atmosphere to create real situational tension for its audience.  You will feel the cold; know the harrow of frost-bite; and feel the desperation communicated by the actors.

I dare you not to.

In fact, I double-dog dare you.

Component Grades
Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars
5 Stars
Blu-ray Experience
5 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 28, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, Spanish
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

This is a wonderful 1080p transfer, retaining the chilly atmosphere and a healthy layer of grain for some texture.  It’s gritty, but not over stylized like the usual horror film.  When the lights go out and the only visible light is the moon, the color balance is solid with a nice and noticeable evenness to its black tones.  The soundtrack is solid, too.  It’s presented in a high quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless track.  The sound is subtle at first, but it quickly builds as the tension mounts and pays off with sonic textures that amplify the wilderness surrounding the trio.


Commentaries: Fortunately, there are two commentaries.  Both are satisfying with information about the filming, especially since this was filmed on location with no green screen effects.  As a result, there is plenty to talk about.

  • Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Adam Green and Actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, & Emma Bell
  • Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt and Editor Ed Marx

Special Features: The Blu-ray, distributed by Anchor Bay, is fully loaded with excellent features that explore Adam Green’s style of shooting, his imagination, and his team of knowledgeable filmmakers.

  • Catching Frostbite: The Origins of “Frozen” (11 mins)
  • Three Below Zero (11 mins)
  • Shooting Through It (12 mins)
  • Beating The Mountain: Surviving “Frozen” (53 mins)

Deleted Scenes (6 mins)

Original Theatrical Trailer