Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Frozen (2010)(Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

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 (more on that later) here.

Warning! Here comes another stupid characters rant!

After the storm hits, Dan, Joe, and Parker lose their cool, quickly. They’re freaking out, because the realization of being stuck in the ski lift for one week is starting to sink in. Dan comes up with the bright idea of jumping to the ground, so he can search for help. Mind you, they’re at the highest point on the ski lift. Anyway, Dan jumps down, and guess what happens? He shatters both of his legs on impact, and you can clearly see a bone sticking out of one leg, but it’s not over yet. Dan is sitting on the ground by himself, trying to stop the bleeding with some help from Joe and Parker, when a wolf shows up. Parker distracts the wolf for the time being, but the lone wolf returns with a pack of allies. Together, the wolves literally rip Dan apart.

Dan is dead, and as time passes, Joe and Parker are stuck together. After a while, Joe leaves Parker alone in the lift, and he takes a shot at descending a ladder on a support pole. Of course, Joe has some trouble fighting off the wolves on the ground, but Parker tosses him a ski pole. Joe uses the ski pole to fight off the wolves, and he uses a snowboard to glide down the mountain…..but the wolves follow him.

Parker falls asleep on the lift during the night hours, and one morning, she awakes to nothing. No Joe, no rescue team, nothing. Parker knows something happened to Joe, so she decides to pull a Dan during a desperate jump. But the cables to lift snap during Parker’s frantic struggle. The lift drops halfway to the ground, so Parker falls at a safe height. After the fall, she injures her leg in the left, but Parker has enough strength to crawl. During her crawl to the open road, Parker spots Joe’s mangled corpse. The wolves are busy eating Joe, so Parker is free to move on without any interruptions. Parker crawls to the road, and after a few unsuccessful attempts, a driver catches Parker’s signal for help. The driver agrees to drive Parker to a hospital, and for the closing moments of the film, Parker remembers Dan’s reassuring words on the lift before she closes her eyes in the passenger’s seat.

So let me get this straight. You KNOW something bad will happen, if you attempt to jump off of a freakin’ ski lift, but you do it anyway? It’s like going to the roof of your house or apartment complex, and you’re at the top looking down at the sidewalk beneath you. You know there’s a 99.9% chance you won‘t survive the jump without any problems, but you still jump? That doesn’t make any sense. Joe knows the wolves are looking for their next meal after devouring Dan, so he decides to climb down the ladder, and fight off a pack of wolves with a ski pole? Also, Parker’s is escape is really frustrating, when you stop and think about it. After all the brainstorming and illogical planning, they NEVER thought about using the lift to break the fall to the ground? Ugh.

Waiting wasn’t an option either, huh? The snowplow machine showed up, so who knows, if you wait, another person might come to the rescue. Sorry, but it’s hard to have sympathy for Joe and Dan’s deaths, because I can’t ignore the dumb (and willing) choices from both characters.

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 (i.e. Dan’s twisted and mangled broken legs, Joe’s dismembered corpse, frostbite wounds on Parker’s face, etc.), 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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