The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Genre: Thriller, Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English SHD, Spanish
Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers
Directed by: Adam Green
Music by: Andy Garfield
Written by: Adam Green
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 28, 2010
"No One Knows You're Up There"
A typical day on the slopes turns into a chilling nightmare for three snowboarders when they get stranded on the chairlift before their last run. As the ski patrol switches off the night lights, they realize with growing panic that they’ve been left behind dangling high off the ground with no way down. With the resort closed until the following weekend and frostbite and hypothermia already setting in, the trio is forced to take desperate measures to escape off the mountain before they freeze to death. Once they make their move, they discover with horror that they have much more to fear than just the frigid cold. As they combat unexpected obstacles, they start to question if their will to survive is strong enough to overcome the worst ways to die?”
My Take:Frozen took me by surprise. The idea of Parker, Joe and Dan, three 20-somethings stuck in a chairlift, too high to jump, too cold to survive and stranded for 5 days until the mountain opens again, reeked of boredom, whining, crying and bad dialogue. Adam Green delivered this scenario with precision and craft, showing he is more than a kid who got lucky getting his first effort, Hatchet, which I reviewed 2 weeks ago, made. What could kill a film with this premise are the characters. Thankfully the three unlucky ones were played very well by Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell and Kevin Zegers. Some realistic dialogue coupled with a natural progression of emotions, from denial to blame to acceptance, took this from the annuals of forgotten B-movie to a top-notch thriller that is so frustrating and gut-wrenching at times, that it feels as if it is really happening.
The film starts with a silly pop-song, almost mocking 80s films like "Better off Dead", and builds the characters up to be likable and fun as they finagle getting on the chairlift by paying off an employee at Mount Holliston (of note, Adam is from Holliston, MA, which is a few towns over from where I am writing this up.). Liking these three is the key here. If they were not believable we would never feel so disturbed at what happens. Of course, at the end of the day these guys need to get in one more run before the mountain is closed. They beg and plead to be let on, even though employees had already let the last group on the lift. They succeed in getting on but are forgotten! An easy but believable set-up to get these poor folks stranded, dangling too far to be heard, scene or saved.
The film has some faults, there a few times where we drag, but it always saves itself right at the moment where I noticed. I will hold of on my other issue as saying it is a spoiler. All-in-all this far better then you should expect it to be. It's chilling, relentless and real. I look forward to seeing more films by Adam and do hope he strays away from the slasher genre more often.
You will never look at a chairlift the same...
Rated R for some disturbing images and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Frozen thaws out on Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27.2 Mbps and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
Frozen's sound design was the stand-out in Anchor Bay's release. Its Lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track added an element to this film that enhanced the story quite well. The low end pummeled my room when a nasty storms thunder reared its ugly head. Wind and sleet flew across the front and rear sound-stage, making me feel like I was on the chairlift with them. Never once did I miss a word, as the dialogue was always the most important thing in the mix. The tracks dynamics were what sold it, making this a natural yet surprisingly lively track. The accompanying video was another entity that helped Frozen achieve the impact that it did. The contrast between the black of night and white of the snow and sleet was impressive. The details on Joe's frost ridden facial hair to Parker's pink ski jacket were equally impressive, though some shots were softer than others. I did notice an occasion or two where blacks were crushed, though most the time details were evident. There was a sexy layer of grain, giving this 35mm filmed movie an authentic and non-tinkered with look.
- Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green and Actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers & Emma Bell
- (HD) Catching Frostbite: The Origins of Frozen
- (HD) Three Below Zero
- (HD) Shooting Through It
- (HD) Beating the Mountain: Surviving Frozen
- (HD) Chair 92
- (HD) Deleted Scenes
- (HD) Theatrical Trailer
- (HD) Previews: Hatchet II, I Spit On Your Grave, After.Life, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic
Not for the faint of heart, Frozen can frustrate, frighten and depress-- all because we care about what is happening to these poor characters. Writer/Director Adam Green is in command getting the build-up and tension to be palpable, making this one location piece a rear breed indeed. This release from Anchor Bay is packed with extras and is a great looking transfer, all adding to making this a worthwhile experience. Be warned, if interested in seeing this don't watch the trailer first as it gives too much away. Frozen comes highly recommended...go for it.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer