Directed by: Adam Green
Plot: Three friends find themselves trapped upon a chairlift at a renowned ski resort. With everybody unaware of their whereabouts and the ski resort closed until the following week, the three must chose to either stay put and inevitably freeze to death, or make potentially life-threatening decisions and find a way off.
Featured at multiple horrorfests around the globe, Adam Green (breaking his way into the limelight in 2006 with the horror homage Hatchet) writes and directs his latest, Frozen. With a magnitude of followers after his breakout feature, he makes a swift turn from full blown horror to something a little more chilled.
Opening the feature with an introduction to our trio of characters, Green stabilizes their friendship with hammy dialogue and forced acting, hardly setting the scene for a film that attempts to surpass his previous. While quirky in places, their quarrelesome attitudes are simply charmless. Thankfully, once stranded over the mountains, Green's pace and idealistic behaviour towards the perfect set-up falls into place.
The two settings in which all characters' attitudes seem to be placed on - bickering and whining - are understandable under the obvious circumstances, with Green's writing exuding sheer professionalism when it's focused on elements gearing towards terror. Racketing the tension in by the buckets, scenes upon the chairlift are instantly nail-biting, successfully building up each unfortunate move with a concentrated, and agonizing, intensity.
The claustrophobic and incredibly harsh, frosty setting works tremendously with the film Green has written, but everything would have undoubtedly fallen into shit creak without the likes of the film's stars. Putting aside familiar faces Kevin Zegers and X-Men's Shawn Ashmore, the true talent is partial newcomer Emma Bell - whose fame will undoubtedly come in the next Final Destination installment. At first, predictably written, but somewhat grows due to the tragedy her character is succumbed to. Distressing and at times horrendous, a balance is made with the ill-fated getaway and the grim, relentless surroundings itself, with the warmth between the remaining characters proving some of the most memorable scenes.
Similarities can be made with shark flick Open Water, a fellow horror that looked more docu-dreadful than docu-horror. Delightfully straying from its faults, Frozen tends to thrive as a character-driven thriller, with Bell's especially becoming all the more relatable.
Despite failing to surpass his previous entry, Green's attempt won't go unnoticed. An unrelenting, chilling and ferociously terrifying survival horror that essentially works as a sadistic sister act to Hatchet.
Frozen is released theatrically in the UK September 24th, and on DVD/Blu-ray in the US September 28th.