Monday, 29 October 2012

Movie: Frozen

Ideal material for a suspense movie...

Frozen: Not for the faint-hearted.
Frozen tells the story of three friends, Parker O’Neil (played by Emma Bell), Joe Lynch (played by Shawn Ashmore) and Dan Walker (played by Kevin Zegers), who get stranded up a ski lift and forgotten about after a ski centre closes for the weekend.  The only choices available to them are therefore to either stay put and wait until they freeze to death or pursue some more extreme courses of action in an attempt to survive.  It’s a simple idea, but also a frightening scenario and one which therefore provides ideal material for a suspense movie.

Given that this is a movie with a story which can be summarised in one sentence, you might think there’s not a lot of potential for plot development but in actual fact once the predicament begins, Frozen features almost constant action and numerous plot twists along the way.  Although you could argue that artistic licence has been used with one or two of the twists that the characters face, their reaction to these twists always come across as plausible and an accurate portrayal of how you might react in such a situation. 

Not all of these twists are predictable, however, and this is a movie that often has you reacting with shock and surprise as you think to yourself, ‘Oh no!’  Or rather, ‘O-o-oooohhhh n-n-nnnoooo!!!’  In fact the tension throughout the movie is so heavy that by the end you’re almost glad it’s over as it means you can finally let out a deep breath and relax.


The extreme nature of their circumstances means that the friends go through many emotional stages as they first attempt to come to terms with the situation and then frantically ponder on their best course of action to follow.  As you’d expect the initial reaction is one of fear and panic with later responses being to blame each other for their predicament.  All in all every stage they go through seems to arrive at the perfect moment and follows the likely roller coaster of how your emotions would react if you were unlucky enough to find yourself in the traumatic situation of potentially freezing to death up a ski-lift.

As you’d expect from a movie which has the characters mentally and physically battling to stay alive, Frozen is a movie which is certainly not for the faint-hearted, and one which regularly has you squirming and wincing.  Sometimes the uneasiness comes from the tension of the situation, and at other times from the physical traumas the characters experience.  After the opening introduction is out of the way you are constantly on the edge of your seat as the three friends explore all their possibilities as to how they can get out of this alive.  To add to the drama of the plot, nature is very rarely on their side and instead just seems set on adding to their woes.

Perhaps the fact that nature itself is the enemy was why I enjoyed this movie so much.  With many suspense movies, the danger comes from a supernatural source such as zombies or aliens, but in this case they are faced with real life threats which therefore make the action all the more unsettling.  You inevitably find yourself asking what you would do in such a situation and this makes it easier to relate to the fear and horror that the characters experience.  Psychological suspense has been done many times before but in this case the real life nature of the threat meant that Frozen came across as maybe not quite unique but certainly refreshing.


If you were looking for faults then the opening half hour is fairly uneventful and basically only there to set the scene for the main plot.  You could argue that this introduction also ensures that once their predicament begins you are more emotionally attached to the characters than you would have been if they had been plunged into their fate straight away, but I would nevertheless ideally have preferred to see the opening scenes trimmed slightly and the main action arrived at a little sooner.

But once the slow start was out of the way, Frozen had me hooked.  The twists and turns play with the emotions and hopes of the viewer just as much as they do the characters.  The writers have thought up an interesting list of plot devices to thwart the characters in their survival attempts and balanced this with a selection of possible escape strategies which drip-feed them the tiniest amount of hope.

If you’re the type of person who watches Star Wars and thinks to yourself, ‘Huh!  If Tattooine really had twin stars then the huge gravity forces would prevent planets within its solar system from sustaining life!’ then you might likewise spot a few points to pick up on in Frozen as well, but for the rest of us, once it gets into its stride Frozen is a very well edited movie that has you on the edge of your seat for almost the entire final hour of the movie.

It’s dramatic viewing which at times will have you unable to watch, yet paradoxically not wanting to look away.  The trauma and isolation of the story have been captured extremely well by writer/director Adam Green, and although this is a simple story, enough twists have been added to ensure the finished product is a very well executed movie and one which is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys tension and suspense.

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TV-Silencer (Limat Graphics Inc)

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