Arc Entertainment // 2012 // 94 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // January 4th, 2013
Pray for help.
I guess that I'm a sucker and should stop trying to deny it. As the years pass, I find myself more affected by the force fed emotions of romance and dramas. It bugs me, but not as much as what kind of sap I've become watching thrillers. Once upon a time, when a genre movie would toss something incredibly obvious at me, I'd see it right away, but no longer. That doesn't mean I'm taken by surprise when the reveal comes; instead, I just get annoyed, both at the movie and at myself for falling for it. Here I am again, after watching The Frozen, wondering how I can be so gullible.
The story concerns a young couple, Mike and Emma (Seth David Mitchell and Brit Morgan, True Blood) who head out on a winter camping trip. Each has big news to deliver to the other, but before they get the chance, they get in a snowmobile wreck. They seem relatively unharmed, but soon, they start being terrorized by a silent hunter (Noah Segan, Looper) who disappears without a trace. When Mike goes after him one night, Emma hears a gunshot. She goes to find him, but what she finds is something much more disturbing.
If you look carefully, that disturbing thing should be obvious to anyone, except for me, apparently. It's a device that gets used over and over again in thrillers both good and bad. Sometimes, it works well and, sometimes it doesn't. In The Frozen, it's pretty weak, but not just because the vice itself. It's the delivery of it that's the frustrating part. After about 88 minutes of a normal, fairly average chase movie, writer/director Andrew Hyatt spends the last five throwing a big religious wrinkle into the mix. Even if the reveal is obvious, this comes basically out of nowhere and, while I'm not necessarily opposed to a filmmaker putting religion into a film, it has to be done with a subtler hand than is used here, which is the very definition of a tacked on ending.
It's too bad, because before all that comes and punches you in the face, The Frozen is a decent, if pedestrian, suspense film. With only three actors in the mix, there is time to build the characters and develop Mike and Emma's relationship. That's pretty strong and keeps the story interesting. The performances are all decent, but decent is really the best thing that I can say about any of it. Had it been somehow fantastically exciting or suspenseful, maybe that ending would have rubbed me so wrong, but the bulk of the movie was neither of those things and I couldn't abide what it became.
The Frozen arrives on DVD from the unfortunately named Ketchup Films. It's a decent looking disc, with a crisp 2.35:1 image transfer. With all the snow, it's a very bright film, but the detail and color remain strong throughout. The sound is quite good as well. The surround mix is well-defined with good separation in the channels and a fair bit of work for the rear speakers. The only extra on the disc is a trailer, but its technical quality would still warrant a recommendation if the movie were better.
But it's not. I've certainly seen worse and more obvious thrillers. It's simple and occasionally effective, but the forced delivery of its ham-fisted and totally unnecessary religious message really drives the film down the tubes. There are enough enjoyable parts to not make it a complete waste of time, but I found myself decidedly underwhelmed.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Arc Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13