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|Writer-director Adam Green who has specialized in the horror genre now brings us Frozen, a not bad
though far from great reason for a chilly winter night out at the movies. Three college kids (Shawn
Ashmore of the AIDS drama 3 Needles, Jamie Babbit’s The Quiet and the X-Men series, Kevin Zegers
who played gay in Transamerica and TV star Emma Bell) can’t afford the price of three lift tickets
during a trip to their local ski resort. But after forking over $100 they’re determined to get their
money’s worth and they convince a none too bright chairlift operator to give them one last chance at
the slopes before the place is closed for the night. Naturally, the chairlift is shut down and the resort
quickly deserted, leaving our three stuck midair, facing the elements and who knows what else far
below them in the icy, snowy cold?
Frozen is yet another variation on what happens when some irresponsible teens/college kids do
something they’re not supposed to and suffer major (usually tremendously gory) consequences.
Teen horror flicks have always had that “there’s a price to pay for having illicit fun” subtext (especially
when it comes to the taboo of sexual pleasure) but increasingly, every teen leisure activity – from
trekking through Europe (the Hostel series) to exploring abandoned ruins (The Ruins), etc. – has been
fodder for the slaughter teen genre.
Green keeps the suspense going for awhile but then, when one of the characters jumps from the
chairlift, the result is so gross it’s like the Mad TV parody of Misery and the foot hobbling – it’s so
gory, so comically severe and the reaction of the character so benign, disbelief sets in. Soon, our trio
(thanks to a pack of hungry wolves) is reduced to a twosome with seemingly everything but Big Foot
nipping at their heels.
Actually, though the set up plays on a common, usually unspoken fear among skiers, the movie
could have used an appearance by Big Foot or some other supernatural or science fiction creature or
element added to its story. Or anything because after the one character jumps the other two pretty
much sit there and talk and argue and get frostbite and have parts of their exposed flesh stick to the
chairlift (like the kid sticking his tongue on the flagpole in A Christmas Story) until the last act when
one of them finally, finally decides to take action. Early on it looks as if there might be a criminal
component added to the story that would have put the characters in even more trouble – but that
doesn’t happen either.
You sit there, stuck in the theatre seat right along with the duo stuck in the chairlift, hoping that
something a tad more inventive is going to happen and thinking, “How come they complain about
everything but being cold?” Without some supernatural/scifi angle though there aren’t a lot of
possibilities unlike, say, Open Water which managed to stay terrifying because you knew at any
second those sharks could come back. With Frozen, it’s Adam Green who has a lot more than the
elements to fend off – there’s that fickle audience, bored, snappish and impatient, inclined to give
his okay but not great movie the Big Chill.