The Gist: Three friends head up to the mountains for an afternoon of skiing before a long weekend. They bribe a chair lift operator to let them have one last run and end up in a horrifying battle for survival against nature and the elements when the lift malfunctions during a storm and they are forgotten.
The Frozen: Emma Bell (Parker O’Neil), Shawn Ashmore (Joe Lynch), Kevin Zegers (Dan Walker). Written & Directed by Adam Green
My Take: Contains minor spoilers
I really enjoyed this movie. The setting of a flick that features it’s 3 actors in a chair lift for almost the entire movie doesn’t necessarily sound like it would be interesting but it really worked well and you really get the feeling of dread and panic that the characters are feeling as they are left stranded and exposed. Dan and Joe are headed for some fun in the snow with Parker, Dan’s girlfriend, tagging along much to Joe’s dismay. After a rather tame day of skiing and Joe resenting Parker being there and dampening their fun, they bribe the chair lift dude into one more run before the mountain closes and full dark hits. He agrees and the three of them head up. About halfway up the lift stops, which doesn’t cause concern at first since this happened earlier in the day but as the minutes start to go by and the lift remains still, they start to become concerned. There is also a storm brewing and their calls for help go unheard.
Things do not get better from there. Dan decides he needs to do something and jumps from the chair, breaking both his legs and rendering him incapacitated and at the mercy of a pack of wolves. You can guess what happens to poor Dan as his best friend and girlfriend can do nothing to help him and just sit there listening as he is torn apart by the wolves. What a way to die. Parker and Joe make it through the night but things are not good as Parker’s face is starting to get frostbitten and she lost a layer of skin from her hand after falling asleep and leaving it exposed on a metal bar. Joe decides to try to leave by scaling across the wires that are holding up the chairs and heading to the tower that leads down. He makes it with bloodied hands and uses his snowboard to start down the mountain only to be chased by the wolves and we are left to imagine his end.
Parker is now left in a desperate situation and decides she too must jump and try to get off the mountain. The chair is slowly falling off the wires with one end dipping down until it falls off at the same time that she does. As she slides down the mountain, Parker passes by what remains of Joe and the wolves enjoying their feast and comes to stop in the centre of the deserted road. Parker made it but is nearly run over by a lone vehicle which stops just in time and driver saves her life.
I’m not doing justice to the suspense, tension and fear that this movie evokes in the viewer. It is such a terrible and random situation but it could happen. The acting is quite good and I really like the conflict turned to reliance for survival between Shawn Ashmore and Emma Bell.
Yah or Nah: This is an enthusiastic Yah. The whole scenario is terrifying without relying on gore (it’s moderate, even the wolves eating people) or scare tactics. It’s the threat of and being at the mercy of nature – the elements and animals. And it’s very effective in the story, production and acting. I highly recommend this one. Check out some trivia on the flick on IMDB.