Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Film Review: The Frozen (2012)

The Frozen (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...it feels like you're watching nothing for an hour, then you watch a 20-minute short film with a plot you've seen before at the end."

A couple, Emma (Brit Morgan) and Mike (Seth David Mitchell), set up camp in the woods to soak in the beautifully snowy scenery. After a snowmobile accident, the pair find themselves stranded...

The Frozen is a very simple and generic film — more emphasis on generic. The film follows Emma and Mike, a couple with some blatant problems — more than just the lack of camping experience. During their trip, the pair crash their snowmobile. With their only method of transportation destroyed, the pair find themselves trapped miles from their truck. To worsen their problems, they can't find a way back. So, eventually, Mike goes missing and Emma is left to fend for herself. She tries to survive, she's tracked by a mysterious hunter, and she suffers from bizarre nightmares. That's practically everything that happens in this film. It all leads to a very cliché ending.

The Frozen is an utterly disappointing and boring film. First, let's tackle the ridiculous clichés. Pregnant girlfriend who doesn't want to tell her boyfriend? Check. The "we didn't tell anyone we were camping here," moment? Check. The "I lied, this isn't the actual campsite," moment? Check. There are a few more, some that stem from these, but I don't want to 'spoil' the film and you get the gist. (The ending is one of the most notorious clichés of all time.) It's fine to use cliches in narratives, it's not that big of a deal, but when they're this blatant and uninspired, it ends up feeling bland and generic. Unfortunately, this isn't the worst part of the film.

The Frozen is a movie without an identity. It's so obsessed with itself, it has no idea what it wants to be. One moment, it's a survival movie; the next, it's a psychological horror movie. It often feels fragmented and heavy-handed, always chewing more than it can swallow. Worst of all, the film is simply boring. The plot is thin, the characters are dull, there is no suspense, and the environment is underutilized. I mean, the film takes more time showing us the trees than it does developing its characters! To be blunt, it feels like you're watching nothing for an hour, then you watch a 20-minute short film with a plot you've seen before at the end.

The acting fares a bit better than the plot, but it's still not great. Brit Morgan and Seth David Mitchell are tolerable, but they are lacking in conviction. They're not completely wooden, but I often felt like I didn't believe what they were saying. The film is shot beautifully, though. The environment is vibrant and it could have been ominous if more were occurring in the plot. The music was also decent. Writer and director Andrew Hyatt can obviously craft a film with a beginning, middle, and end, but forgot one measly thing: entertainment. While trying to do everything, he's create a film that amounts to very little. It has a few decent moments, one startling jump-scare, and great cinematography, but it's not enough to fill a 90-minute runtime — it's barely enough to fill a short film. Hyatt focuses more on the aesthetic atmosphere than he does on character and suspense, and that is his greatest flaw.

Overall, The Frozen is a bad film. From the beginning, even through the first blatant cliche, I really wanted to enjoy this film. Unfortunately, it almost immediately dwindles to sheer boredom. It's
technically a well-made film, but it's not entertaining. The lack of story and suspense make this film a drag to get through. It might help you sleep if you're tired, but I can't recommend watching it otherwise.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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