by Jef Burnham
Coming to DVD and Blu-ray September 28, 2010 from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
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Adam Green is simply one of the most capable and promising filmmakers working in horror today. In 2006, Green’s second feature, Hatchet, was hailed as the “the holy grail of slasher movies,” introducing audiences to Victor Crowley, the blood-thirsty, hatchet-faced killer who stalks the Louisiana bayous (played by Friday the 13th 7-X’s Kane Hodder himself). And now, less than a week before the unrated Hatchet II’s limited midnight engagement nation-wide, Adam Green’s Frozen is coming to DVD and Blu-ray.
I’ll admit that, despite my admiration of Green’s passion for horror as evidenced in Hatchet, I wasn’t thrilled by the trailer for Frozen in the least. But, being the work of Adam Green, I determined to suffer through it anyway, and suffer I did. But not in the way you’re thinking, no! Frozen is effective in the way that few horror films are today, and by that I mean, it’s honestly scary. Terrifying even. In anyone else’s hands, the concept would have fallen flat, but this story of three college students stuck on a ski lift for a week succeeds because Green’s first and foremost concern as a filmmaker is rightfully the characters. After all, it’s impossible to be truly scared by a film unless you relate to and give a damn about the people whose lives are at stake.
Relatable characters are the core of any good horror film, and the film’s trio is certainly that. The situation they find themselves in at the opening is such that it’s immediately accessible to anyone in the audience (two life-long buds hit the slopes, but the girlfriend that has come in the way of their friendship tags along), but the ways in which the characters relate to one another are so natural that the scenario never becomes a caricaturization. For example, though Lynch and Parker are the respective friend and girlfriend between whom Dan is attempting to create an acceptable balance with this outing, the two don’t butt heads as such until they find themselves trapped on the ski lift. In fact, Lynch is incredibly warm with Parker, joking with her as he would anyone else. We never get the feeling that the two are “at odds,” so to speak, though any other film would have painted their relationship thus. Lynch doesn’t resent Parker, he simply misses his friend.
Green orchestrates an extremely complex and nuanced dynamic within the group. And it’s this dynamic, this rich portrayal of our protagonists by Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men trilogy, The Ruins), Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead (2007), Wrong Turn) and virtual unknown, Emma Bell, that allows the events that unfold to be really, truly frightening.
In this critic’s opinion, Adam Green has crafted a little masterpiece in Frozen.
The Anchor Bay release is loaded with special features, including five featurettes with a total running time of 86 minutes; audio commentary featuring Green, Ashmore, Zegers and Bell; deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer. As an added bonus, those who seek out the Blu-ray release are rewarded with an additional commentary track featuring Green, director of photography Will Barratt and editor Ed Marx.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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