Anchor Bay Entertainment

I’ve never been skiing, no actually I have. I’ve been once, dry slope skiing, which I’m told is nothing like the “real thing”, and I should definitely go, because “it’s so much fun”. HAH. NOT ANYMORE! This is another classic ‘what would you do?’ film, full of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and “DON’T DO THAT!”. It’s about basic fear; being alone, trapped, hungry, cold and surrounded by hungry man-eating wolves. Writer-director Adam Green attempts to do to skiing, what ‘Open Water‘ did for scuba diving and upcoming ‘Buried‘ does for being buried alive (so hot right now).

Green sets the film up pretty quickly, our protagonists are three college students; a couple and a friend (piggy in the middle), immediately asking for trouble when they lie to get onto the ski lift. After some skiing, fun and jokes about the awkwardness it all is that the three of them are there instead of just two of them, it gets dark, they beg the lift operator to let them do one more run, despite him being adamant the weather is getting bad… He lets them on, obviously. And then the lift operator has to take a phone call (obviously) and leaves his post with another operator letting him know they’re waiting for the three kids to come down. So when a different group of three kids ski past he assumes that’s it, and shuts the lift down for the week, trapping our protagonists half way up the mountain, 30ft in the air, in the offset of a storm.. At night. AND to make matters worse, it’s Sunday night, and the slopes don’t reopen until the following Friday.. Obviously.

The final hour of the film pretty much plods along with implausible situations and terrible attempts at trying to escape. One of them decides to just fall from the lift, but sort of pushes himself off, as if gravity might fail him. With disgusting, gory and predictable results, then as he can no longer move, a pack of wolves start to surround him, while the other two in the lift, watch in horror. We watch the other two bicker, then cry, then bicker, then decide they have to leave by climbing to the nearest pylon and shimmying down, only the taught ski lift wire is like barbed wire and shreds his hands, leaving him bleeding and unable to properly defend himself against the wolves.. Again. But he gets down, finds a board that he sits on because it’s already been established that he can’t board, and his skis are somewhere under all the fresh snow, that he threw down at some point. I know. I know. And he semi-sledges out of shot, wolves in tow. So we’re left with the last victim, stuck in the chair lift, she waits and waits, and by the next day we assume that he hasn’t made it to base camp.. And she is left to decide if she wants to die or try to get down.

In fairness, Green does create tension with horrifying but predictable consequences. If you jump, you risk the breakages, if you don’t you risk frostbite and hypothermia, and he does throw in some lovely frostbite scenes. As you sit there you think of a million ways you’d do it differently, you know if you were there you’d be fine, you’d have a plan of action, and follow through with meticulous caution. I suppose this film works in a way, it’s a very simple and believable idea and it does look very good, the cinematography is tight and clean, the colour is bleached and desaturated and the sounds are eerie and at times, more gruesome than the visuals. Frozen, although at points seems to take forever to get to an end does succeed at pulling you in and keeping you fully clenched until it reaches the cold, damp end.

Emily Paget