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outside the walls: Non-Asylum Inkings

Just a quick one here, a mini-review for a film coming out on DVD tomorrow, Frozen, written and directed by Adam Green, the visionary force behind slasher-neo-classic Hatchet. Frozen has so far been the sleeper horror hit of the year, and is described in a blurb from Bloody Disgusting's Brad Miska as capable of "do[ing} for skiing what Jaws did for swimming." Interesting blurb, especially considering one of the production companies behind the film is called A Bigger Boat.

Frozen concerns three friends too cheap to pay full price for lift tickets at a skiing resort. They bribe their way on the lifts instead and spend the day shredding the slopes (or whatever the kids call it these days), but when it comes closing time, our protagonists, being the greedy things they are, covet one last run and, avoiding impending weather warnings, bribe their way up yet again. And as greed is a deadly sin, it has mortal consequences: a series of mishaps leads to our heroes getting stranded on the ski lift halfway up the mountain when the resort unknowingly shuts down around them, killing all the lights, all the power. Worse yet, the resort is only open on weekends, and all this goes down on Sunday night. Meaning the resort won't open again for another five days. Meaning no one will be around for another five days. Zoinks.

This is only the first, however, in a series of unfortunate events: the aforementioned weather coming to fruition, they miss being spotted by the last plow, an ill-advised jump shatters both the legs of one of the three and, oh yeah, there's the local carnivorous fauna to contend with.

Part Lifeboat, part Open Water, Frozen's success is due to its inventive script played by a capable cast (Emma Bell - "Amy" in the upcoming AMC series "The Walking Dead" ; Kevin Zegers - Dawn of the Dead '04, Wrong Turn; Shawn Ashmore - "Iceman" of the X-Men franchise, The Ruins), though Zegers is a little to pretty for the homespun beauty of Bell, but that's just nitpicky. This is Shawn Ashmore's best work to date as the snarky third wheel stoner lothario. As an ensemble, however, the cast makes the tension palpable and the terror tangible. The result is a superbly-crafted and incredibly intense, teeth-gritting thriller. Grab a copy on Tuesday with 8213 Gacy House for a nightmare-inducing double-feature.

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