How’s this for a gimmick? Three college students—Shawn Ashmore, his best friend Kevin Zegers, and Zegers’ girlfriend Emma Bell—take an impromptu ski trip, and through a chain of unfortunate circumstances largely caused by their own obstinacy and sense of privilege, they wind up stranded on a ski lift, at a resort that’s going to be closed for the next five days. The kids have no cell phones, they’re too high up to jump, the ski-lift wire is too sharp to grab, and the woods are full of dangerous critters. What resources can they draw on to stay alive and/or get themselves rescued?
That’s a great question for any thriller to ask—especially one that confines its action more or less to a single location. The fun of movies like Frozen is in thinking along with the protagonists, and letting our own survival instincts kick in, from the safety of our chairs. But the problem with movies like Frozen is that since we know the movie is 90 minutes long—and we know our trio won’t be rescued right away—a lot of the movie’s “Hey, let’s give this a try!” scenes lack a necessary tension. The plans need to be a lot cleverer (and more frequent) than they are here.
The other problem with Frozen? While the actors are game, their characters are awfully generic. Ashmore is a standard “bro,” Zegers is whipped and defensive, and Bell is alternately cute and bitchy. While the threesome are busy not coming up with cool ways to escape, we’re treated to long scenes of them sitting in the cold and talking about what it’s like to be a stereotype. Beyond those stiff, tedious moments, Frozen does take a few unexpected turns. Green definitely knows his way around a suspense sequence, but he needs to find a way to work those sequences into a movie that has its own organic life, and isn’t so… well, please refer back to the title.