As the blizzard of 2010 approached us I decided to go check out the new movie Frozen. It’s a lower-budget independent film that reminded me at once of Open Water—a no-frills movie shot almost entirely in a single oddly claustrophobic set with people you’ve never seen before.
Let me say that I’ve enjoyed similar films done in this fashion. Open Water wasn’t a great movie but it certainly kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m pointing that out because, quite frankly, it’s going to be very hard for any other movie to surpass this one as the worst movie of the year. It’s just a complete joke. In most of the reviews I put up I say very little about the story itself but here I can’t help but to point out how ludicrous it all is.
Three friends head off to a local mountain to get in some skiing and snowboarding. The group consists of Dan, his best friend Joe and Dan’s girlfriend Parker. There’s a subplot about Parker’s coming along and how it’s some sort of direct assault on Dan and Joe’s crucial bonding time but, like the rest of the film, you won’t care one bit about that.
The three of them, it should be noted, are apparently quite cheap and have no intention of paying for lift tickets. Instead they use Parker to bribe the lift operator into letting them head on up. Now, I ski and every mountain I’ve been to uses lift tickets attached to your jacket as proof of payment. Unless they only plan to ski a single lift all day and hope they get the same operator the entire time this plan doesn’t make any sense. No surprise there.
The three spend the day enjoying the mountain and before too long it’s getting dark and we’re down to the last run. The operator they bribed is shutting down the lift but Dan just has to prove his manhood by talking the guy into one more run. The operator relents and up they go.
Now we get a series of misadventures with the operator. He’s called off and the replacement doesn’t have all the correct info about who’s on the lift. He ultimately comes to the conclusion that it’s all clear and shuts it down while our cast is, of course, only part way up the mountain.
Yet again reality takes a nap. Nearly every such lift on any mountain is a direct line up the mountain. Any operator can simply look up the lift and see people on the chair. Furthermore unless it’s a tiny resort (and this doesn’t appear to be one) there should be people at the top of the lift who can also look down to see them. Nope. Not here. Additionally most mountains include a ski patrol that ski the runs and the lifts to assure no one is left behind. Apparently this resort doesn’t believe in such luxuries.
Annoyance then turns to real concern when the lights are turned off. Don’t panic though as apparently there are several large moons in orbit on this night given the ease with which we can see every detail. It’s then we get another hint of the small nature of the resort as it’s mentioned that they won’t be open again until the following weekend. Then the hinted-at storm rolls in.
Now we get shots of the three complaining endlessly about how cold and biting the storm is but apparently it’s not so bad that any of them feel the need to actually zipper up their jackets, pull their hats down, tighten their hoods or put on their goggles. Parker, most obviously, could have just reversed her jacket putting the hood over the front of her face and the warmth of her breath would have worked wonders but not in this movie.
Once the storm abates it’s time to consider options. Dan, our dashingly good-looking hero, decides he should jump. They’ve got to be at least 40 feet up. Somehow none of the three notice that they’re sitting on a long padded seat mat that’s held to the chair by several bungee cords which would make for a really effective rope system. Dan, flowing with testosterone, doesn’t even feel the need to reduce the distance and just pushes forward and launches into the air from a sitting position. To no one’s surprise he hits the ground with full force and experiences multiple compound fractures on both legs. Bones sprout out like weeds and he’s there with legs splayed in shocking angles. Every so often he manages to shout out “ow”.
Now I’ve broken lots of things in my life. I’ve broken my leg skiing and it wasn’t even a compound fracture and the pain was absolutely excruciating. I nearly passed out from it. Not our hero Dan. He’s having a full-on conversation with Joe and Parker and has to tell them that, no, he doesn’t think he’ll be able to slide down the mountain. What they expected him to do down there even if he could is a complete mystery.
Joe gets the idea, in ski boots, to climb up the chair and shimmy along the cable to the ladder-equipped cable support pole. Where’s Dan in his snowboarder’s boots when you need him? Of course that fails miserably. Dan, apparently a cable manufacturer back home, warns that lift cables are razor sharp and I guess we have to take this as fact as we really have no choice. However, having seen these time and again, a lift cable spends all day every day getting run through all sorts of compression and looks about as smooth as possible to the eye.
So now we have two people stuck on the lift and Dan incapacitated on the ground with some slightly annoying pain. Then the wolves appear. Thankfully within minutes we no longer have to be bothered by any more of Dan’s goofy story line.
Back to Parker and Joe. Sadly we now have to get a lot of back story no one cares about that just drags the whole thing out longer. Frostbite is setting in but it looks nothing like frostbite and the duo still sees no reason to bundle up.
Through all of the chaos Parker has also lost her right glove and apparently suffers from some malady that prevents her from keeping her hand in her pocket. In fact, it’s so debilitating that she manages to not only sleep that night with her hand outside her jacket but firmly squeezing the frozen metal safety bar all night. She awakes in the morning to find it both fully adhered to the bar but also, amazingly, fully functional if a little worse for wear.
Morning brings renewed vigor. Once again Joe decides to try climbing. His method is, like the rest of the film, highly questionable. On his ascent he manages to loosen the mechanism that holds the chair to the cable. Also, instead of pulling up his legs he decides the best method is to just hang by both hands and gloves and use the dangling hand-over-hand attack. Much to everyone’s surprise it works. Joe makes the ladder but now, of course, the wolves (who apparently know about weekdays) are back in force. Joe descends right into their midst and manages to stave them off with an errant ski pole because we all know wolves are petrified of ski poles.
Joe then shows us entirely what he’s made of by immediately sitting on one of the boards and, using the pole, tries to row down the mountain with the wolves in full pursuit. Parker can rest assured that Joe will have no trouble with this approach and rescue can only be right around the corner.
Then day turns to night and night to day. What could have possibly happened to Joe? Parker then decides to attempt her own escape and wants to jump for it. Having seen Dan’s stylistic approach she instead decides to hang down from the chair and then drop. At that moment, of course, the now faulty chair begins to break away from the cable and drops halfway to the ground. Parker drops off it and we’re given a brief shot suggesting the falling chair may have grazed her leg. There’s an even longer shot of her boot stuck mildly in the back of the chair and with a slight turn it’s freed.
She then starts down the mountain laying face down essentially applying a nice swimming stroke. It’s then she comes upon Joe and the cadre of wolves still leisurely enjoying their after-dinner mints. They pay little attention to Parker (she is a bit skinny) and she continues down the mountain and onto a two-way road. Wow. A road right in the middle of the trails. That’s got to be a safety concern.
Parker gets picked up and we get paroled by the credits. My ride home was filled with more tension than this movie.