Impressions: Frozen (2010)

Frozen is a 2010 “thriller” (nothing genre it’s a horror movie) in which three kids get stuck on a ski lift. I remember there being a lot of mixed feelings about the movie. It was extremely hyped pre-release, but a lot of the response to it was flat. I am not sure why I skipped the movie, it wasn’t that I expected it to be bad. I finally (nearly ten years later) sat down and watched it and… it kind of hit what I expected, okay.

If you perhaps missed this movie or even forgotten, it follows childhood best friends Dan and Joe and Dan’s girlfriend, Parker. They are spending the day skiing when Joe, angry that Park has crashed, convinces them to take one last run. The chairlift operator is hesitant because of a storm moving in but ultimately relents. Through a series of events, when the group is part way up the lift is shut down, and they are left stranded. To make matters worse, they realize that they will likely be stuck up there from Sunday night to the following Friday.

I actually love this idea. I appreciate true man vs. nature horror movies, and I feel like it’s an underrepresented sub-genre. Also, the movie has some great moments. Spoilers… Dan’s death and many of the events leading up to it are actually pretty terrifying. It was especially clever to have the scene play out almost entirely auditory with the visual focus on Joe and Parker reacting to and hearing what is happening, but not actually looking at it.

Parker having an emotional breakdown but trying to remain quiet to not waking sleeping Joe is upsetting. She is brokenhearted, dealing with everything that is happening, and forced to do something embarrassing but necessary. Watching her trying to keep silent and keep it together made me hurt for her.

There are a lot of scenes in this movie that have a strong impact.

But that’s sort of the problem… Frozen feels less like a story following this harrowing event, and more like a series of scenes clipped together. It throws off the pacing and even the emotional impact of the story. Worse, however, is that it throws off the tension. This is probably the most troubling part to me because it laid out several moments that should have been entirely unsettling to watch. They do a good job, but they didn’t quite reach as far as they could.

I think that’s the overall take away with me and this movie. It is good, but it maybe didn’t live up to its potential, which is always a criticism I feel weird giving.

Realizing how dire their situation is, Dan hurting himself and then ultimately his gruesome death, Joe and Parker struggling with that emotionally, the feeling of helplessness, the living pair’s attempts at escape. All of these things should have hit hard but truthfully didn’t.

The movie comes close, close enough that I would even call it good, but I really felt it had the potential to be a great movie and isn’t.

So bottom line? It is still worth watching if you haven’t and even worth considering re-watching if it’s been a while. There are some great scenes, it’s entertaining enough, hell even I plan on revisiting it at least once. I think with a few tweaks it could have been a lot better, and maybe even a modern horror hit. As it is, it’s a solid entry in a sub-genre that should have more titles, and I would recommend it to most genre fans. People who tend to be iffy about horror might even enjoy the movie, although it might be “too much” at certain parts.

It’s also made me more curious about Adam Green’s works which I have to admit I have only experienced a few entries of.

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