Starring: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers

Directed by: Adam Green

“Critics have called it JAWS in the snow.”

That was my first impression of Frozen. Well, not my impression so much as the impression I was forced to accept by watching this movie.  I half expected to have to sign a contract stating that were I to ever reference Jaws I would also need to mention how much Frozen resembled the aforementioned Jaws. I don’t sign anything without a lawyer.

Frozen is the story of Parker, Joe and Dan, three friends who decide to go skiing for the weekend. They don’t have enough money to buy their lift tickets, so they bribe the lift operator to let them up instead. This is not an important part of the movie, but necessary if you don’t want your movie to be under an hour long.  After piddling around on the bunny slopes all day, they decide to make a run from the top of the mountain. The lift operator explains that the mountain is about to close for the week, but they just have to get one good run under their belts. Through a series of miscommunications the three are unknowingly left on the ski lift at the top of the mountain. With a snow storm coming in, and the slopes being deserted for the next week, the three must take action if they want to survive.

The movie does start off a bit on the slow side, but once we find our leads trapped, dangling 75’ above the ground, the movie starts to find its rhythm.  The camera stays with our characters, not jumping to scenes of their friends, or to the workers wondering if everyone made it off the mountain. As the realization of what has happened and what will need to happen washes over Parker, Joe and Dan, the tension is quickly dialed up, leading to desperate decisions. This is also where the movie becomes surprisingly gory.

My real problem with this movie is not really with the movie at all. Rather, it has to do with the presumption that this movie should be held in the same regard as Jaws. I looked for the review that likened the film to Spielberg’s nautical nightmare, and I have yet to find it. Fear not, the director and writer, Adam Green, will make sure you know. First, the name of the production company is Bigger Boat Productions. Second, the actors have to deliver some very awkward lines, where when asked what the worst way to die would be, one actor talks about how dying like the actress in Jaws would be the worst. Don’t get me wrong, having to watch the fin come towards you as you brain tries to process what is about to happen to you is one of my worst fears, but I don’t really think it felt natural with the rest of their conversations.

All complaining aside, I really did enjoy this movie. I think simple works very well for the horror thriller genre. Keeping us with the characters at all times turns their fears into our fears.  Maybe that is the only likeness to Jaws I can find. For damned sure this movie didn’t deliver what I was truly hoping for, a shark on a snowboard. Jabber Jaws would have been a good choice.

Written by Drew Martin