Frozen is a prime example of the importance of suspense in cinema. When people use the phrase "edge of your seat," suspense is exactly what they're referring to. It's something that Alfred Hitchcock perfected and you can definitely sense the Hitchcockian vibes in Adam Green's latest thriller. To be honest, I don't know the origin of the term "edge of your seat" and I'm not sure why suspense would force someone to sit like that, but if you're one of the people this happens to, prepare to wear out the edge of your seat.
In Frozen, three friends take a trip to a ski resort. Joe (Shawn Ashmore) and Dan (Kevin Zegers) are best friends from childhood and Parker (Emma Bell) is Dan's girlfriend. The trio doesn't quite operate as a well-oiled machine, with Joe passive aggressively protesting Parker tagging along on their macho bonding time, but they get by. They ski, they snowboard, Parker falls often, and they have fun.
When the resort shuts down due to bad weather, the trio talk the ski lift operator in letting them make one final run. If that seems reckless and irresponsible, that's because it is. After a serious of interruptions and mishaps, the ski lift is shut down while the three characters are still in mid-ride, leaving them stranded up in the freezing air while the resort shuts down around them.
It's an interesting premise and a scary one, which writer/director Green capitalizes on with remarkable skill. Frozen is a terrifying movie. It takes your worst fear that you never knew you had and makes it a reality, depicting one of the worst situations a person could ever be caught in. I have never been one to talk to a movie, to try and converse with the characters out of desperation. I have never been one to look away from the scream in disgust or terror. I have never let a movie, regardless of how frightening it is, dissuade me from taking a certain action, the way people stopped going to the beach after seeing Jaws. Frozen made me do all three.
I never shouted at the screen. I did, however, nervously mutter things like "don't do that" over and over again. There were times where I would up my hand to cover parts of the picture, not out of disgust - Frozen isn't a gorefest by any means - but simply because I was upset by what I saw. And I've only been to the snow a few times, but never skiing or snowboarding, and now I have doubts if I ever will. I know I won't go in the immediate future.
And while all of these reactions sound negative, the fact that the movie brought them out in a legitimate way is nothing short of amazing. This is a powerful movie. I haven't discussed the acting, the directing, or any of those technical aspects, because I don't feel I need to. The fact that I was moved in such a way is the proof you need to know that it all works. My one complaint? It worked a little too well. There were times in the movie where the suspense peaked, it hit a ceiling, and yet Green kept going, dishing out what may have been unnecessary torture. Still, every person has their own threshold, and it may just be that mine is lower than most.
Frozen gets under your skin and chills you to the bone. It will stick with you, in ways good and bad, and that is an accomplishment that Green can be proud of.
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