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Three snowboarders they get stranded on a ski chairlift taking them to the last run of the day. When the ski patrol switches off the night lights, the threesome realize with growing panic and dread that they’ve been left behind, dangling high off the ground with no way down. With the resort closed until the following weekend, and frostbite and hypothermia already setting in, the trio is forced to take desperate measures to escape off the mountain before they freeze to death.
For more about Frozen and the Frozen Blu-ray release, see Frozen Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 24, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Emma Bell (I), Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, Ed Ackerman, Rileah Vanderbilt
Director: Adam Green
» See full cast & crew
Frozen Blu-ray Review
One of the scariest movies ever made earns a top-quality Blu-ray release from Anchor Bay.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 24, 2010
What do you think the worst way to die would be?
With Frozen, Writer/Director Adam Green (Hatchet) proves he's not a one-hit wonder or simply a master of the slice-'em-up Slasher picture in the 1980s style of Horror filmmaking. Frozen is another beast entirely, a psychologically depressing, emotionally draining, physically fatiguing, and visibly terrifying experience that should be remembered as one of the genre's all-time great pictures. It sacrifices the excessive gore and underlying humor of Hatchet in favor of what is nothing less than a paralyzing experience of sight, sound, and feeling, a movie so powerful in its ability to frighten and haunt its audience that it's likely to never completely vanish from the mind and is destined to linger in the subconscious for the rest of every viewer's life. Frozen is a movie where the typical descriptive clichés -- including whichever may be found in this review -- simply don't do the film justice; take anything written and amplify it at least several times over to get an idea of just how gut-wrenching, terrifying, and unforgettable a picture Frozen truly is. It's all achieved by assaulting not the visual and aural senses but by commanding a level of deep, unrelenting, and practically paralyzing emotional fear that almost manifests itself as some kind of physically painful reality for those who dare watch. Frozen is completely gripping and wholly absorbing, the kind of picture where every single fiber of one's being begs to be freed of the agony of watching the movie, but Adam Green's film is too captivating to ignore. Viewers need watch at their own risk. It's that terrifying.
Three college students -- Dan (Kevin Zegers), his girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell), and his lifelong best friend Joe (Shawn Ashmore) -- finagle their way onto a ski lift without paying full price. They hit the rookie-level slopes for Parker's sake, but when Dan and Joe want to take one last run down a more challenging course before the slopes close for the night, they hitch a last-call ride up the mountain both against the attendant's better judgement and in the face of an incoming winter front. Unfortunately, a mix-up in personel at the lift's controls results in the equipment being turned off and the trio of skiers left stranded halfway up the mountain with no way to get down, no way to call for help, no extra clothing, and no chance of survival in the face of frigid temperatures and no food or drink to sustain them. They quickly realize that the lift hasn't been temproarily suspended but instead closed for the week when the lights power off and the minutes turn into hours. With a feeling of helplessness taking control as thoughts of slowly dying high atop a mountain turn into grim realities of a pending fate, the three brace themselves to endure an end that's to be as painful, agonizing, and frightening as anything anyone has ever faced.
Ignore the trailer until the movie's over. It's very good, but it gives away too much. Frozen is best experienced with as little preparation for what's to come as possible. Aside form the premise of three skiers stranded on a lift in freezing temperatures, audiences will be best served by allowing the movie to play out with as little foreknowledge and preparation for what fate has in store for the characters as possible. With that in mind, it's difficult to discuss Frozen without giving away many of its elements that are both structurally relevant to how the story plays out and that engender the kind of spine-tingling, nauseating, intensely frightening, and altogether uncomfortable psychological terrors that await a first viewing. Suffice it to say, the picture is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece because it so effectively engages its audience by placing its characters, and by extension the viewers themselves, into a deadly and believable scenario rather than one that's of a more typically detached and phony Horror veneer that sees some larger-than-life killer plowing his way through a bunch of underdeveloped characters in an obviously fictitious setting. Frozen gets to the very essence of fear by working through a premise that's about as plausible as they come. It's that underlying realism, attention to detail, wonderful character development, and of course all of the technical know-how behind the camera that all come together to craft one of Horror's most relentlessly disturbing, highly original, and all-too-real experiences.
What's even better is that Frozen doesn't wait for the characters to become stuck on the lift for the tension to mount. Adam Green manages to create an unsettling atmosphere through merely the mechanized sight and sound of the lift, the director painting it as a deadly contraption waiting to strand its victims high above the mountainside and with nowhere to go and nothing to cling to a metal bench and fading hopes. It's not even the foreknowledge that the trio is to become stuck that allows the aura of fear and tension to hang over the picture even before it's primary plot is set in motion. Green's direction is simply that strong and that unforgiving, and from his first frames forward he creates a chillingly realistic and almost unbearably intense feeling of pending fear. As the picture moves along, Green manages to keep it feeling fresh and fast-paced even though it's built around little more than dialogue and a single setting. Few movies can prove this engrossing with as minimal a setting, as few a characters, and as little a movement as what's on display here; it's a testament to Green's impeccable direction and faultless script that doesn't play its audience or its characters as fools. Just when it would seem that the characters in Frozen might not do the obvious, they do it. Their actions don't always work, but they follow what could very well be the logical steps to take as developments present themselves, which isn't often the case in the more generic of genre pictures. Frozen's story has been meticulously conceived and fleshed out considering how simple it really is at most every level. The characters, then, are very well-scripted and given dialogue that makes them both believable and sympathetic. The performances are a step above, too, with the actors falling seamlessly into their parts and playing every emotion and situation both before they become stranded and all the fear of what comes after with equal gusto and realism. Frozen wouldn't be quite as good without Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, and Kevin Zegers; they put the finishing touches on a picture that's destined to be remembered as one of Horror's most terrifyingly realistic pictures that will haunt its viewers forever.
Frozen Blu-ray, Video Quality
Frozen's Blu-ray release goes straight to the summit with a wonderfully filmic 1080p transfer. The image retains a fairly heavy but nicely-realized layer of grain that gives it a slightly gritty texture, but not one that dominates the picture. It's supportive of very high detailing -- seen mostly in the texturing of woven caps, heavy winter jackets, and various cold-related injuries such as frostbite -- that's visible throughout, even in the picture's darker scenes. Colors are also strong; while the image is dominated by white snow and blue skies in its daytime scenes and a prevailing darkness where the image is lit by little more than moonlight during the frigid nights, it captures the various brightly-colored shades very well, particularly as seen in Parker's yellow ski goggles and pink jacket. Whites are steady with no evidence of excessive bloom, while blacks are mostly absorbing and honest without drowning out too much in the way of foreground detail or, on the other end of the spectrum, appearing far too bright or gray. The image isn't always razor-sharp, with several elements looking ever-so-slightly soft, but Anchor Bay's transfer seems to remain grounded in its director-envisioned intent, and there's no denying how strongly film-like this Blu-ray looks. Though a few halos are visible around objects offset against the sky, there are no major anomalies to report. Frozen looks fantastic from start to finish; it's easily one of Anchor Bay's best transfers to date. Watch it on as big a 1080p screen as possible.
Frozen Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Frozen debuts on Blu-ray with a quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack that impresses from the picture's opening moments onward. Frozen begins with a nicely subtle but all-too foreboding chill that breezes about the listening area, the sound pierced by the hauntingly mechanized grind of the ski lift in operation that seems to engulf the entire soundstage. It's followed by a lighter-in-tone but no less powerful rock number that spills from the speakers with precision clarity, a solid low end, and guitar riffs that seem to power their way into the listening area. Outdoor ambience prior to the trio becoming stranded is defined by the whooshes of skiers as they maneuver about the listening area, supported by light on-location background music. Later, heavier winds, thunder, rustling tree limbs, falling hail, and all sorts of other maladies that impact the threesome's stay in the lift are superbly realized, each element faultlessly entering the soundstage and swirling all around to create a seamlessly terrifying environment. There's plenty more, but suffice it to say delving further into the specifics of the track might constitute plot spoilers; rest assured that every sonic element within Frozen's runtime is of an exceptionally high and realistic quality. Of all the track's elements, though, it's that superbly-realized and constant cold chill that's its greatest asset. Play the movie with a fan turned on or the air conditioner blasting; the room will feel much colder than it really is. With the lights down and the air cool and crisp is the only way to watch Frozen.
Frozen Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Frozen thaws out several quality extras, including a pair of audio commentary tracks. The first features Writer/Director Adam Green alongside Actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, and Emma Bell. The track focuses on the assemblage of the cast, shooting in chronological order, the casts' concerns with aspects of the picture, costumes, audience reactions to the film, the challenges of starring in the film, the rigors of the shoot, and much more. Track two is manned by Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt, and Editor Ed Marx. This "technical" commentary focuses on the picture's achievements on a low budget, the history behind the project, the grind of the shoot, filming at night, creating some of the practical effects, the limitations of the picture's technical attributes due to filming in natural environments, the politics of small-budget filmmaking, and much more. Both tracks are of a high quality; fans are encouraged to give both a try.
Next is a series of four featurettes. Catching Frostbite: The Origins of 'Frozen' (1080p, 10:59) features Adam Green discussing what inspired him to write the script, followed by cast and crew discussing the basics of the story, the picture's scares, shooting in a real environment, and the process of translating Frozen from page to screen. Three Below Zero (1080p, 10:50) looks at the quality of the cast, the casting process, the real-life dynamics between the three actors that reflected their scripted parts, the subtleties of the performances, and various character traits. Shooting Through It (1080p, 11:17) looks at the work of Cinematographer Will Barratt and Production Designer Bryan McBrien, the challenges they faced, and the solutions they fashioned to make Frozen a more complete and realistic movie. Beating the Mountain: Surviving 'Frozen' (1080p, 52:55) is an all-encompassing feature that chronicles the rigors of the shoot. Needless to say, the making of Frozen wasn't an easy endeavor, and this exhaustive and fascinating piece takes viewers to the shooting locales for a brutally honest look at the challenges of bringing the movie to life. Also included are several deleted scenes with optional Adam Green commentary (480p, 6:27) and the Frozen theatrical trailer (1080p, 1:51). An Easter Egg for a brief piece called Chair 92 (1080p, 1:36), the story of a suicide that occurred near the place of the shoot, may be found by scrolling past the main selection of extras and clicking on the "paw" icon.
Frozen Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The only real question is how Frozen will hold up to repeat viewings; one might very well be enough, but for as strong as the picture is, it's one downfall may be a lack of replay value simply because of the foreknowledge of how things will play out. On the other hand, it's so positively gripping, absorbing, and well-made that it may hold its value as a gut-wrenching and morally, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and physically draining picture that might be worth re-visits every now and then. Either way, anyone who thinks they can handle the many challenges of watching Frozen needs to experience it at least once. Simply put, it's a picture that will never completely fade from the memory or the subconscience. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Frozen features a breathtakingly strong film-like texture, a good lossless soundtrack, and a quality assortment of extras. Frozen comes very highly recommended.
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Frozen Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Frozen Announced on Blu-ray - July 13, 2010
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has announced Frozen for Blu-ray release on September 28. In this thriller movie, directed by Adam Green (Hatchet), a typical day on the slopes turns into an ice-cold nightmare as three snowboarders get stranded on a ski chairlift ...
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