Film review: 'Frozen' will leave viewers cold

Published: Friday, Feb. 5 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Emma Bell stars in "Frozen," a film about stranded skiers.

Fred Hayes

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FROZEN — ★1/2 — Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers; rated R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, slurs, brief drugs); in general release

"Frozen" aims to do what a few other earlier Sundance Film Festival offerings did before it.

The low-budget movie hopes to get scares and thrills by making recreational activities look even more dangerous than they are — like "The Blair Witch Project" (1999) did with camping and like "The Descent" (2007) got from caving.

Instead, it's much more like another one-time Sundance offering: "Open Water," the tedious, low-budget shark attack film from 2003.

That movie featured characters who were so irksome that the audience was rooting for them to be eaten by watery predators. "Frozen," which strands skiers on a lift chair, promises a much slower and even more boring end for its characters.

While the movie was filmed at Ogden's Snowbasin ski resort, it's set in New England.

Three college-age pals — best friends Dan (Kevin Zegers) and Lynch (Shawn Ashmore), and Dan's girlfriend, Parker (Emma Bell) — are hoping to ski and snowboard for cheap at a nearby resort. They even bribe a ski lift operator (horror film veteran Kane Hodder), who agrees to let them up the slopes at a discounted rate.

Their day is going well until the trio decides to go on one last run, just before the resort closes up. The lift comes to a dead stop, and apparently the operators don't notice there are still people in transit.

So, faced with the prospect of freezing to death, the three have to decide whether to jump from the lift chair to the icy tundra 50 feet below.

Worse, there are menacing howls coming from surrounding woods — which implies that there may be beasts that are waiting for them to jump off the chair.

Most of the movie consists of petty bickering between the characters. And screenwriter/director Adam Green's dialogue in these scenes in awful.

As for the three leads, they did some of their own stunts, but they were apparently so cold that they began acting like icy mannequins.

"Frozen" is rated R and features some strong and disturbing violent content and imagery (a violent fall, animal attacks and violence against animals), strong sexual language (profanity and vulgar slang terms), some bloody and gory imagery, other off-color references, derogatory language and slurs (some of them sexist in nature), and brief drug references (marijuana). Running time: 93 minutes.

e-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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