This is in direct opposition to the movie, The Cold, which left me very cold indeed, despite the fact that it had a shark in a swimming pool.
I’m talking about the movie for Final Girl Film Club, which was 2010’s Frozen. I’ve been busy and my schedule keeps changing at my day job so I’ve been pretty negligent about the Film Club. This is a shame, since one of the movies was a blacksploitation revenge flick featuring zombies with silver ping-pong eyes. I’m really glad to be back at the popular kids’ table with this movie, though. I read about it months and months ago in Rue Morgue and put a ginormous star next to the review because I wanted to see it so badly. I missed its brief theatrical run but I’m finally catching up with it. I wasn’t disappointed by the movie but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. There are some shortcomings.
The short plot; Dan, Joe and Parker are on a ski weekend. They don’t want to pay full price for lift tickets so Parker bribes the lift attendant. Towards the end of the day they decide that they want one last run, so they convince the attendant to let them on again, reminding him of the $100 they gave him. A series of somewhat contrived-feeling events leaves them stranded on the lift as the ski area closes early due to approaching bad weather. It’s a Sunday so the mountain won’t be open again until Friday. The trio has to face the elements and themselves in order to survive.
If there were such a thing as movie bottle episodes then this would be a bottle episode. Three-quarters of the action takes place on the chair lift. Oddly enough, this is where I found the acting to be strongest. The first twenty minutes, where the characters were established were hard for me to get through because I found everyone to be so unpleasant and grating. There was something almost amateurish about the acting, although that may have been due to the stilted dialogue. This makes me kind of sad since Emma Bell plays Parker. You know her as Amy from The Walking Dead. The addition of what I like to call “douche music” to the equation didn’t help. This isn’t music to douche by, I mean loud, generic rock music that a guy in a trucker hat would listen to while drinking a Miller at a frat party. It’s so weird how the acting got better when the characters were in danger. Or maybe I just got caught up in the story and was more forgiving, I’m not sure which is more likely. Possibly both.
I think that things got more interesting once they’re stuck on the chair. You see, Dan and Joe are best buddies from grade school and Joe resents Parker’s presence at their male-bonding thing. When the chair stops the accusations start to fly about who’s to blame for their predicament.
You see, once they’re stuck it’s not just that they’re cold and scared. There’s a storm a-comin’. They end up dealing with frostbite, how to pee when you’re stuck on a chairlift, and body parts sticking to metal. The special effects were actually quite good and made me flinch a lot.
See those icicles? It’s cold up there. And they’re really high up. See?
Dan decides that he’s going to try to jump and get down the mountain for help. He figures that even if he gets hurt he can still make it down the mountain. Unfortunately, he jumps with his legs straight and doesn’t tuck and roll, so he ends up with some nice compound fractures.
Then, the wolves come. Yes, there are wolves. Wait, are there wolves in New England? Let’s say that things don’t end well for Dan.
Parker and Joe become increasingly desperate to escape. Joe finally ends up climbing the chairlift’s cable, even though it ends up mangling his hands.
I don’t want to give away the ending. It wasn’t really a twist, it just surprised me a little. I’ll say that the situation becomes even more desperate.
After writing my summary, I’ve decided that I think that Adam Green, the writer and director, wasn’t great at writing the opening character development but did a good job once the characters were in crisis.
Still, this movie is worth watching. Once the douche music ends the stark beauty of the scenery and the terror the characters feel is emphasized by eerie, plaintive piano music. Plus there is some really beautiful shots of the scenery.
The movie is definitely a tense thriller, although it does rely on some gross-out moments to establish fear. I think that can be a cheap way to scare people, sometimes. Still, it works. And I can say that the gross moments were very well done.
The movie was filmed on location and it shows. You can tell that the actors are really high up and that they’re all at nature’s mercy. I actually thought that the DVD featurette “Surviving the Mountain: Beating Frozen” was quite interesting. This dealt with the real conditions that they were filming under and how they worked with the weather and with the trained wolves.
I’ve been going through a bit of a science and math phase lately. I’ve been reading The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse by Jennifer Oullette. I realized that Dan’s fall in the movie can be charted as a calculus problem. See, I made a graph.
The y-axis is the height from which Dan falls, and the x-axis is how long it takes him to fall. As time proceeds the height that Dan is at for each moment is decreasing little by little. It levels off when he hits the ground. If we knew his weight and how far up he was, we could measure the force with which he would hit the ground. Actually, if the characters knew this then they could use this info to decide whether or not it was worth the risk for Dan to jump. Math saves lives.
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