Thursday, October 07, 2010

No One Knows You're Up There

Believe it or not, writer/director Adam Green has not made the first chair-lift thriller. That would be the terrible 1978 made-for-TV SKI LIFT TO DEATH, and it’s safe to say Green has hurdled that bar by a wide margin.

The premise of FROZEN is terrific—three college students are stranded on a ski lift at night. Green’s wise decision to film it on an actual Utah mountain in the middle of winter, rather than try to fake it on a green-screen soundstage, will give you the shivers even in the comfort of your toasty living room.

Hey, what could happen to three pretty young people on a ski lift? Well, there’s frostbite, wolves, and pure panic, for starters. Green, whose direct-to-video slasher throwback HATCHET attracted enough admirers to spawn an unrated theatrically released sequel (HATCHET II, natch), knows how to milk the suspense for all its worth, including at least a couple of moments guaranteed to make you wince.

Surprisingly for a guy famous for slasher movies, FROZEN features hardly any gore and the most gruesome sequence is portrayed almost entirely with sound effects providing more terror than any on-camera staging could elicit. Editing by Ed Marx (JEEPERS CREEPERS) and scoring by Andy Garfield (HATCHET) are as proficient as Green’s direction.

I wish he had chosen a stronger cast though. Emma Bell (GRACIE) and Kevin Zegers (WRONG TURN) as a couple and Ashmore (X-MEN’s Iceman) as Zegers’ childhood friend and current third wheel are competent but not capable of sustaining a three-hander. However, with Green to guide them, they’re good enough, and so is FROZEN as a surprise sleeper.

1 comment:

Kal said...

You found another little know gem that should be on a double feature with 'Dead Snow'.