Despite travelling the same well-worn path of several other man-against-nature thrillers, writer/director Adam Green’s take on the survivalist genre manages a few icy frissons of its own, as well as a withering (if unnecessary) indictment of health and safety standards in the US skiing industry.
Set in the snowy mountains of Utah, Frozen describes the ordeal of three snowboarders who find themselves perilously suspended mid-air when their ski lift breaks down. Parker (Emma Bell) and her boyfriend Joe (Shawn Ashmore) tempt fate when they hook up with their pal Dan (Kevin Zegers) for a little off-piste adventure, but when the ski-resort’s incompetent staff accidentally switch off the chairlift, the trio are left to contend with mother nature in the form of freezing conditions and a ravenous pack of wolves.
Green has clearly moved on since his 2006 horror pastiche Hatchet, and crafts a slow but suspenseful cautionary tale, drawing out his characters sharply and not stinting on the details (the nastiest of all coming when Parker’s ungloved hand becomes stuck to the freezing metal of the chair-lift). Frozen is hamstrung by the familiarity of the material; if you’ve seen Open Water (sharks) or Black Water (snakes), the manner in which the hapless tourists enjoy long periods of isolated chat interrupted by ferocious attacks will offer few surprises. But even if it has all been done before, Frozen’s fight for survival is taut, tough, and enough to make you stick to artificial slopes for the foreseeable future.
General release, Fri 24 Sep.