Good horror is built on simple concepts that explore human psychology and prey upon our worst fears. Sadly most of the entries into the horror genre in recent history have forgotten how to prey upon our fears and instead try to gross out their viewers by delivering copious amounts of blood and gore. Amongst a sea of gore filled flicks starring grisly depictions of the human body, Frozen is an anomaly.
Set entirely on the slopes of a Massachusetts ski resort, Frozen takes a simple fear and turns it into a terrifying reality for the characters and for the viewers. There is no man in a ski mask hunting down his prey, instead Frozen pits three friends in a battle for survival against mother nature herself. As the resort is setting up to close for the week, three friends talk their way onto the last lift up the mountain but before they get to the top, the lift stops stranding the three high above the ground, in the dark and freezing New England air. It is a simple premise but one that carries much horrific weight to it.
Where Frozen succeeds most is in humanizing the three main characters, viewers are able to relate to them all and in doing so the film is able to project the terror happening on screen to the viewing audience. Parker (Emma Bell), Joe (Shawn Ashmore) and Dan (Kevin Zegers) find themselves with no one to rely on but themselves and they begin to formulate a plan for rescue. Their plans though come from the minds of panicked individuals looking for the quickest and easiest means of saving themselves and just like in real life, the quick easy way is not always the best way. As things move on through the night and the three set about trying to save themselves, things turn from bad to worse rather quickly and from worse to nearly hopeless in an instant.
The build up of tension is masterfully handled and each escalation in the trials set before the characters is generally smart and fittingly demoralizing. As horrifying as the events in the film are there are some flaws and like most horror films, those flaws are plot and logic related holes. These flaws don’t necessarily hurt the film as a whole, mostly because the film is a nail biter with no time for logic, but they may very well detract from multiple viewings.
Flaws aside though, Frozen is a fantastic horror film and director Adam Green (Hatchet) has delivered something that should be celebrated as a success in the genre. As scary as psycho killers, ghosts, and monsters of legend can be when done right, sometimes it is reality that is the most horrifying and Frozen effectively delivers a real horror experience amongst a sea of dull copycats.
4 out of 5