Thursday, February 4, 2010

Frozen



I’ve been debating whether I should write up Frozen again now that it's getting a release (I covered the film briefly in my BNAT piece). To be quite frank I think it’s a movie that’ll work best when it takes an audience by surprise. It works because it's small, because it's intimate, because you’re not expecting much. This is exactly the kind of little movie that finds itself getting destroyed by a huge title wave of backlash by a bunch of backbiting fanboys pissed only because they didn’t get there first.

Then again, Frozen would have to be successful to get Backlash and if I can help make that happen by convincing even one person to go and see it then it's worth writing up. When a movie like Frozen does well; an intelligent well made piece of film craft, it's good not only for genre movies but for all of indie cinema as well. I don’t know if Frozen will do Paranormal Activity business, I do know that it’s a great little chiller and one of those rare and wonderful films where a director announces, “I’m capable of more then you thought”.

I was certainly surprised when I saw the movie at BNAT. When it was announced that the next movie was the new film by the director of Hatchet I think I might have audibly groaned. Let me be clear, I hate Hatchet. HAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTEEEEE Hatchet. It’s the kind of referential, self satisfied bullshit that’s strangling modern horror, since everyone who knows what’s worth a damn is too busy giving each other congratulatory hand jobs to actually make something worth watching.

The problem is so much of Frozen, works because you’re underestimating it. It’s able to take you by surprise. There was at least one instance, where something happened (which I will not spoil), I jumped, and then discounted it as a boo scare. After all that’s what the director of Hatchet does. Fucking Boo Scares. As I settled back in my seat, getting comfortable and giving Green a reluctant check in his column, the "boo scare" turned out to most definitely not be just a boo scare! It came back with a vengeance, and in a way that was somehow both elegant and gut churning. I kept waiting for Green to ruin it, to overreach and go for the gore shot. But he didn’t.

Frozen, tells the story of three college students who get stuck on a ski lift in a resort that is closing for the week. It's just the three of them, the chair, facing four days of the elements, and no hope of rescue. Gulp.

If the premise sounds far fetched to you, don’t worry, Green is ahead of you (One of the best things about the movie is how often this is true. I’m so used to directors just taking the audience's suspension of disbelief for granted that it's nice to have one who thought this through. Trust me if you have an objection, or are reading this going, “WELL WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST...? Green has thought of it.) weaving the details he needs to make it work into the story. By the time that chair lurches to a halt, their fate seems sickeningly plausible.

The most common criticism I’ve heard of Frozen is that the characters are not particularly deep. And while its true they’re three pretty callow young kids, they do all have their moments, and the situation they're in is just so pitiful that you can’t help but have some instinctive sympathy for them.

By the end of the film Frozen has become less a horror movie then a tale of horrific endurance.

But now here I am doing the movie a disservice, just like I promised not to. Go ahead an keep your doubts. But If there’s a theater playing Frozen near you tomorrow, see it. Keep an open mind and low expectations, and you might find yourself with one hell of a surprise.

4 comments:

Planet of Terror said...

Color me stoked to see this tomorrow. Hatchet 2? Not so much. I hated it as well.

Evil Dead Junkie said...

Nice to know I'm not the only one.

StuartOhQueue said...

By the time the lift is left behind they had, indeed, run through just about every option I had running through my own mind. Not a bad little film and not what I was expecting.

Lazarus Lupin said...

It's funny how hatchet has split the reviewers at this month's film club. Maybe it should be the next subject so everyone can hash it out.

Lazarus Lupin
http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
art and review