Monday, December 6, 2010
“Frozen” is one of those high concept nature survival stories that test the limits of human endurance. It’s the story of three friends that go skiing and end up getting trapped on a ski lift. It’s a very small movie in scope as the majority of the action takes place in the ski lift with just the three characters. This presented wrier/director Adam Green with several technical challenges as they were really at the actual location and not in a studio. Then there is the problem of how you make it as terrifying as possible given the limited resources?
“Frozen” stars Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead remake) and Emma Bell who now can be seen on the AMC show “The Walking Dead”. All three actors give incredible performances. Unlike a lot of horror/suspense movies you actually get to know and feel something for these characters. How do they deal with being stuck a hundred feet off the ground in sub zero weather? Some of the choices they make might seem a little strange, but they are freezing and in a state of shock and panic so you can sort of forgive some of their more idiotic choices.
As they try to figure how to get down, Dan (Zegers) decides to jump. With the ground being as hard as concrete this does not go well. It is also one of the nastier gore scenes in the film, and Dan’s situation doesn’t get any better as a bunch of hungry wolves hear his cries for help. This creates a sort of problem as wolves really aren’t the blood thirty predators they are always made out to be so it’s just another instance where the film has taken certain liberties to make the story more terrifying. Which can be distracting, but with in the context of the film it can be forgivable. Of course I’m a little bias and willing to let these things pass.
This is the kind of movie where you either really like it or think it’s pretty stupid. In my opinion “Frozen” is a pretty cool movie (pun intended). It gives you deep character development, psychological tension and suspense and I love the fact that everything was shot on location with the actors stuck in the freezing cold for hours at a time. Yes I’m rather sadistic I like to see actors in real physical pain. They are then able to give a more authentic performance. Suffer for your art! “Frozen” is available on blu-ray and DVD and is packed with tons of glorious extras include a commentary by Green and the actors. Check it out.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
After his breakthrough horror splatter hit “Hatchet” Adam Green teams up with friend Joel David Moore to write and direct the suspense drama “Spiral” which also stars Moore in the lead as “Mason” as an intensely quiet and withdrawn painter who works at an insurance company call center. This movie is quite the departure from the blatant blood and gore of his previous film.
“Spiral” is really a hard film to classify. It’s not really horror, but more of a character drama that happens to have an overall theme of terror. It’s also about the nature of friendship between two friends. Zachary Levi (who now plays “Chuck” on the NBC show) is Mason’s long time friend Berkeley who knows Mason has some serious issues. There is also Mason’s relationship with women, Diana in the beginning and Amber (Played by Amber Tablyn) for the majority of the movie. The movie continues to tease the audience as to weather Mason is a killer or just and average guy dealing with some pretty heavy emotional issues.
Mason appears to be a very meek and neurotic guy. He lives alone in an apartment where he paints portraits of women who pose for him. Is Mason as benign as he looks or is there something else brewing inside his tall, lanky body? Joel David Moore’s portrayal of Mason is pretty dead on and definitely makes this movie what it is. Zachery Levi is also very strong as the friend who is really in denial that his friend really needs professional help. Amber Tamblyn’s character of who else Amber is probably the weakest of the three but in a movie as well acted as this one, she still does give a decent performance. What does she see in Mason anyway?
Spiral builds to a suspenseful and sort of obvious climax, but when Mason goes to Berkley for help after an “incident”. The rug is pulled out from you in a brilliant “oh my god” twist, but is it the truth or is it just what Berkley wants to believe. He then comes to the realization that Mason isn’t quite what he appears to be.