Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Frozen (2010)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers, no character deaths or major reveals**

Two lifelong friends are trying to figure out a way to secure a cheap pass for skit lift tickets during their annual vacation. Dan Walker (Kevin Zegers) and Joe Lynch (Shawn Ashmore) convince Dan’s new girlfriend, Parker O’Neil (Emma Bell) to bribe Jason (Ed Ackerman), the current ski lift operator, with one hundred dollars for a guaranteed spot on the lift, no strings attached. Parker lies about a spot for her “girlfriends,” and Jason reluctantly accepts the bribe.

Throughout the day, a bitter Joe isn’t happy about Parker’s presence on the vacation, but Joe agrees to suppress his animosity for the time being. During the closing hours, the trio agrees to go on one last ski trip before the park closes. Jason allows Dan, Joe, and Parker to ride the lift one more time, but Jason leaves his post to discuss a scheduling conflict with the resort’s manager. In his absence, Jason entrusts another employee with the task of waiting for Dan, Joe, and Parker. Jason instructs Rifkin (Adam Johnson) to wait for the trio, and once they return, Rifkin can start the shutdown sequence. But Rifkin mistakes another group for Dan, Joe, and Parker, and without hesitation, Rifkin deactivates the ski lift.

Dan and Joe dismiss the shutdown as a minor setback, but as time passes, no one else returns to activate the lift. Dan, Joe, and Parker are stuck at the highest point on the lift in the darkness, with a nasty storm looming over the mountains. It’s Sunday, and the resort doesn’t reopen until Friday, so the trio is stranded with no help. The group must endure the approaching storm and frostbite, and the situation takes a drastic turn for the worst, when a pack of hungry wolves emerge from the woods…….

The slight increase in screen time and the extra focus on her character helps, but Emma Bell delivers the best performance here. Parker is very annoying and whiny most of  the time. Still, Bell’s strong effort is enough to stand out amongst the pack, the welded tears helped, and Bell provides the most convincing performance, easily. Ashmore is decent enough as Joe, and Zegers isn’t bad, but his screen time is cut short here.

Wolves? A ski resort so close to wolves? I don’t get it. Having suspension of disbelief is one thing, but I have a hard time believing in the people behind the scenes for the ski resort being so careless for selecting their location. And I’m suppose to believe NO ONE bothered with a second search to see if anyone else was on the lift? Everyone just assumed the resort was empty, and all the employees left for home?

And the scene with the snowplow machine provided the biggest head-shaking moment for me. Parker, Joe, and Dan are throwing all of their equipment at the snowplow to catch the driver’s attention, but the driver never sees anything? I rolled my eyes during this fiasco, because the driver is conveniently looking away or backing up, when the the equipment lands on the ground. Yeah, right. Give me a break.

The stupid stuff is annoying, and the constant bickering within the trio is tiresome. Joe is pissed off at Dan, because he allowed Parker to tag along on their annual trip. Dan is tired of Joe disrespecting his girlfriend. And there’s a scene, where Joe tears into Parker after an accusation, but Joe and a teary-eyed Parker embrace for a truce. Eh, you guys are supposed to be working together to find a solution, so the constant arguments aren’t helping anything.

Truth be told, I didn’t hate everything about this one. Director/writer Adam Green deserves credit for creating an eerie and spooky atmosphere for Frozen. There’s an unsettling silence in the snowy mountains, and the creaky sounds of a ski lift wafting in the wind provide the icing on the cake. And the nighttime scenes feature their fair share of chills, as the survivors are dangling hopelessly on the lift with no one else in sight.

Still, Frozen is a forgettable thriller, and it’s hard to ignore some noticeable problems here. The characters are generic. Joe is that one guy, who has to be a jerk to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with her performance, but in the grand scheme of things, Bell’s Parker is just a ditzy blonde (i.e. Joe taunting Parker about her clumsiness and inexperience with skiing), and Dan is the leader/voice of reason. The constant finger-pointing and bickering almost gave me headache, and the stupidity from the main characters was too much to handle for my tastes.

In the end, a handful of eerie atmospherics, some nasty, cringeworthy moments, and an overall average cast aren’t enough to save Frozen. Frozen isn’t a complete train wreck, but it’s a chore to sit through for a number of reasons, and I can’t go with a positive score for this one.

Rating: 3/10

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