Human suffering abounds in ski-hill horror of Frozen


By Steve Newton

After suffering through his witless 2007 gore fest, Hatchet, I didn’t have high hopes for writer-director Adam Green’s Frozen. I knew it was a skiing-related horror flick, so I pictured an axe-wielding maniac lunging from behind trees and turning the slopes bright red with blood.

Man, was I off the mark.

For its first half-hour or so, Frozen does resemble a routine slice-and-dicer, as young characters played by Kevin Zegers, Emma Bell, and Shawn Ashmore are shown wangling their way onto a ski lift and engaging in the usual inane chitchat befitting slasher victims.

But later on, when they try to squeeze in a last-minute run on the near-deserted mountain, the chair lift shuts down, leaving them stranded 30 metres above the ground.

Things get hairy when the night lights are switched off and the skiers realize the resort is shutting down and won’t reopen for another five days, and they’re without cellphones. What the fuck are they gonna do? What the fuck would you do?

When screaming for help doesn’t work, there are only three options. One is to stay put and freeze to death, another is to jump and risk breaking your legs, and the last is to traverse the chair-lift cable hand over hand until you get to a supporting tower and climb down. Either way, the do-or-die drama involves a whole lot of human suffering.

Fortunately for horror fans, all three actors embrace their pain-filled roles and deliver the goods. Apart from a cameo by actor-stuntman Kane Hodder of Friday the 13th fame, Green avoids Hatchet’s corny clichés and totally redeems himself with a harrowing portrait of humans at the mercy of the great outdoors.

The tourism department at Whistler will not be impressed.

Go here to read more than 350 of my reviews of horror movies released theatrically in North America between 1988 and 2018.

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