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Friday, February 5, 2010

Frozen Review
Three college students take the last ski lift ride up the slope, when suddenly it stops and the lights go out. They realize to their horror that they are stuck high on the mountain and alone, as the ski lift is closed for the weekend and won’t reopen until the next Friday.

Dan (Kevin Zegers), his best friend Joe (Shawn Ashmore), and Dan's girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell) are on a ski trip in Massachusetts. Parker has been Dan’s girlfriend for about a year, and Dan’s childhood buddy Joe is testing his comfort zone with her while competing for Dan’s attention. After being on the bunny slope all day because of Parker’s inexperience, they talk the reluctant lift operator into letting them take one more trip up the slope even though it’s closing time and a storm is brewing. The operator takes a break and tells his replacement there are 3 people going up. But the replacement guy mistakes the 3 people seen coming down the hill as the ones that had gone up so he shuts down the equipment.

The kids are now stuck half way up the hill, 50 feet in the air. They only have 3 options: wait 4 days until the resort opens again, cut their hands on the ski lift wire and climb to the tower where there is a ladder, or jump below and try their luck with the waiting howling denizens of the forest. You can guess which one they do first.

Written and directed by Adam Green (Hatchet 2), Frozen offers a level of suspense that is almost unbearable at times. In fact some preview audiences at Sundance have reportedly been physically overwhelmed from the very realistic scenes involving frost bite and hungry wolves. Most horror genre movies have young dumb characters running around making stupid decisions. This story smartly focuses on the relationship dynamic of the 3 kids and how they approach their traumatic situation. Since most of the action concerns this one note premise, everything revolves around them bickering and wondering how to get out of their predicament. The cast is nice looking and are competent actors that let you feel their fear and the cold. Parker is freaking out, Dan is trying to be brave and comfort her, and Joe is trying to distract them with silly games. There is just a lot of talking with no one thinking clearly on how to survive. Especially touching is when Parker worries about her puppy at home and who will feed him when she doesn’t come home.

But the big elephant on the ski lift is why doesn’t anyone have a cell phone? Have you ever known any college-aged person not to have a cell phone? Have you ever seen a recent movie outside of a period piece where someone is not whipping out their cell? And you just know that ski resort owners will feel a little vexed by this movie. Perhaps it will make the operators a little more cognizant of their work, and maybe kids won’t leave their phones behind. (Review by Reesa Cruz Hawkins of Dallas Movie Screenings)