FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Feb 23, 2011

Film Club: Frozen

People, I have had a big day of 1) talking about Frozen with my mom, 2) playing the Dragon Age II demo and writing a review of it, 3) going to a screening of a movie I'm not supposed to talk about until Friday (which should narrow it down for you), and 4) well, #4 hasn't happened yet, but I'm gonna hafta link to a whole mess of people for this installment, because gobs of you turned out to talk about this month's which I say hooray. Hooray, kind sirs and sir-ettes. Oh, and the reason I'm telling you I had a big day is because 1) it's the reason why I'm posting this so late and 2) it's the reason why my review will be rather short. There will be 30+ other reviews linked up here, though (SAY WHAT), so I'm sure someone else can fill in whatever I lack.

And I guess I'm really into incorporating numbered lists into my sentences today because 1) I don't know why.

So! Frozen. Three assholes con their way onto ski slopes without paying those expensive lift ticket prices. Three assholes end up stranded on the chair lift because no one knows they're up there when the slope closes for the night. Three assholes try a few ways to save themselves: jumping, heading down the line to a climbable pole. Three assholes encounter many hardships, such as wolves, wolves, and frostbite. One asshole survives.

three assholes we

Now, I realize that all makes it sound as if I didn't like Frozen, which is not the case. Well, that's not entirely true, for I pretty much loathed the first half hour, full of character development by way of assholery. The "girlfriend coming between two friends and their bro time" angle simply made for characters that are unpleasant. Maybe I was supposed to be rooting for their deaths? Maybe it's all supposed to be some big morality play and the stranding/wolfnanigans are cosmic payment for their generally foul natures and thievery? That seems like a bit of a stretch, and thus my battle cry is yelped once more: please, just make some likable characters.

Once they all got stuck up there in the dark- in the the dark (sorry, Haunting moment there)- things picked up and I found myself getting into it. The characters remained fairly assholey and shallow, despite all the "Remember that time?" stories meant to add depth, but the situation was interesting/dire/tense enough that I was interested in their fates nonetheless. Add in some cringe-worthy gore and I was satisfied enough. It made me particularly grateful to be warm and dry, so I suppose it was evocative enough.

But. But but but. Now, I realize that, Kane Hodder cameo aside, a viewer who's not ensconced in the indie horror scene might not notice, but...for fuck's sake. kay, Adam Green, we get it. You love your horror filmmaking buddies. You really do, and you seem like a good friend, but we get it. Does every character name have to be pulled from the home page at Dread Central? You've got characters named Joe Lynch, (Dave) Parker, (Spooky) Dan Walker (complete with the "Yeah, that's Spooky, Dan" line), (Ryan) Schifrin, and (Adam) Rifkin. I don't know, maybe I should ignore it. But it's so bro-y, you know? Like the dudes stranded on the chairlift, who love the same movies Adam Green loves, who hit on a girl played by Adam Green's wife. Does this have any bearing on the movie itself, or is it just too wizard-behind-the-curtain for me and so my personal experience suffers? Eh. Probably doesn't matter, but I'm just saying. I noticed.

Oh, and who the fuck gets excited over Papa Gino's pizza? It's gross. And I'm not sure that Newbury Comics would really post a big billboard at a ski resort, but I used to work there, so hey.

Film Club Coolies, y'all! Give 'em love.
Moving Pictures (haiku!)
A Lifetime in Dark Rooms
Maynard Morrisey's Horror Movie Diary
Fresh Cuts
Brutally Violent & Wonderful
Porkhead's Horror Review Hole
Dave's Blog About Movies and Such
The Awesome Art of Horror
Evil Eye Reviews
Film Shuffle
I Will Devour Your Content
Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness
Scare Tactic
Undy a Hundy
Banned in Queensland
The Horror Canon
The Verdant Dude
The Horror Digest
The Bleaux Leaux Reveaux
Chuck Norris Ate My Baby
Friend Mouse Speaks
The United Provinces of Ivanlandia
strange spanners
The Montana Mancave Massacre
Things That Don't Suck
Pussy Goes Grrr
Cinema Gonzo
Sucker Punch Cinema
Aphorisms and Ectoplasm
The Agitation of the Mind
hold onto yr genre
Creature Cast


AE said...

I couldn't watch this movie -- the premise reminded me too much of the Far Side cartoon about the scientists simultaneously testing phobias of the dark, heights and snakes. And with my horror movies, I need a killer or a zombie or a blob or an apocalypse or *some* kind of interesting villain. People getting foiled by human incompetence/their own douchebaggery -- feh, I get to see that happen every day! Who needs it? Still, looks like you got a fab response from everyone else, which is nice. Go Final Girl! You're frozen when your heart's not open!

Stacie Ponder said...

That song was totally stuck in my head all last night. :D

Neil Fulwood said...

"Wolfnanigans" - fantastic! Wish I'd thought of that one myself!

And is "Papa Gino's" a real franchise? (Sorry, I'm a Brit!) I spent half the movie wondering if it was just a bad pun on Papageno from 'The Magic Flute'.

Sum Guy said...

You forgot a key word in this sentence - "Three assholes end up stranded on the chair lift because knows they're up there when the slope closes for the night."

Love your site. Keep up the great work!

The Scream Queen said...

Ahhhh, I missed this film club, and I totally wrote a review on this a couple months back.

I liked this movie, and I really don't mind Adam Green including all his buddies. But then again, I sorta like the fact that Rob Zombie uses repeat actors in his flicks.

Maybe I'm a baby, but I was tearing up when she was talking about her dog :/

Thomas Duke said...

As far as SHREDDER, I saw it way back in 2003, but remember not liking it but for maybe one scene (a hottub slaughter?). However, my memory of it is clearly sketchy, so maybe I should revisit it before saying it sucks.

I agree the character development in FROZEN is a bit douchey, but once the cold hits their bones, the douchiness seems to melt away. Yes, I'm a poet. :P

I noticed the Adam Rifkin reference, but I figured it was a coincidence, and that no one would ever force in a reference to Adam Rifkin.

ICED is still the best ski horror movie. Wednesday Adams gets naked in it! That's all the proof you need.

Lee Russell said...

Frozen wasn't too bad. Minor complaints: the wire the ski lift rides on is not razor sharp and wolves rarely hunt during the day, and generally avoid humans. But I suppose you just have to go with it a bit, even if the film felt like Open Water with wolves.

I thought the moment where Parker breaks down and sobs about how her cat would be missing her was pretty damn effective.

Alice Sweet said...

I have this movie coming on Netflix. I been a little torn about it, whether or not i'll enjoy it. But after your review I'm 'warming' up to the idea.

Shit, that was awful. My apologies.

Desolation Den

Frank White said...

As a Minnesotan, I couldn't get over the fact that none of the characters bother to zip their jackets up all the way whilst freezing to death.

Oh and you lost a glove? Tuck your damn hand into the jacket sleeve you thick nincompoop. Don't grab onto metal things.

Amanda H. said...

"Wolfnanigans" might be my new favorite word :D
I dunno, my Mom seems to like these kind of movies, with dumbass people getting killed. Maybe its cathartic, eh.

Maynard Morrissey said...

absolutely great review. you nailed it with the 'bro-y' thing :)

RnB said...

I unintentionally ended up watching Frozen with a whole bunch of family members on Christmas Eve at our family Christmas party. Judge us accordingly, lol

Anonymous said...

LAME!! I agree, what a bunch of assholes. I wanted them to die. Apart from that though, some things were just straight up unbelievable. The wolves might have killed the first guy - ok. But there's no way they would have killed the 2nd guy. He was totally ok - barely bleeding. Just stand up and yell and they would have run away. Just one of many complaints which I won't bore you with.


Andre Dumas said...

Papa Ginos pizza is like a beacon of light. They for me out of all the CHAIN pizza, have the best ratio of sauce to cheese, and the most magic assembling of spices I have ever tasted. Also, I think blonde lady was more excited about it because it was not ski lodge pizza. Which I imagine must be much, much worse.

Stacie Ponder said...

@Sum Guy- thanks! Sometimes these errors slip through.

I don't generally mind directors using the same actors, but the names & businesses thing here becomes a "spot the reference" game on par with one of those Epic Movie movies.

While surely Papa Gino's is better than lodge pizza, still! Anyone in New England who would choose to go to a chain pizza place (unless there's no other option) baffles my sensitivities!

@Thomas- oh make no mistake, Shredder is terrible. I just love it anyway.

If only the assholes hadn't gone up the lift illegally- Survivor Asshole could have sued for zillions! They were forgotten, the lift obviously wasn't well maintained, and it's a wolf wonderland.

The not covering themselves up properly was the only glitch I REALLY had trouble getting over. Asshole #2 didn't even put his damn hood up! And Girl Asshole should have at least put both hands in one mitten when she lost the other. I get why they couldn't really hide their heads in their sweaters (it's a movie, after all), but still.

Agreed with everyone, though- the puppy scene was great. Emma Bell was quite good and really sold it. I thought she reacted well during the wolf attack, too.

I was talking with someone about what would have thrown a nice dramatic wrench in the works- if Asshole #2 never had girlfriends and was such a dick to Asshole Girl because...dun dun dun...he was gay and in love with Asshole #1, his best friend. Would have been stronger than "One time this girl I liked didn't like me back" and "You're a stupid girl! This is bro time!", know. Too gay.

Mrs. Hall said...

on a somewhat related note, I linked to your site today. It was reviewing another movie that wasn't frozen. I did see frozen though, but not in time to review it for the film club.

Next month though, I'll have get it together.

OK Awesome review. I really did not like the girl. GAAAHHH!!! The movie was largely unsatifying.


Andrew said...

Reading the reviews (I haven't gotten through them all, but a nice cross-section), I believe this may be the FGFC selection that has most divided FGdom.

(Using all those abbreviations made that look like this is some sort of gay pride site, didn't it?)

Some reviewers praised it up the ying-yang, at least one calling it one of the best horror movies of th year, while others basically said it was so stupid, poorly-made, and badly-written that it's not even so-bad-it's-good. Just B-A-D bad.

I keep planning to watch it on Netflix, but then I'll see they have Circus of Horrors or Tales that witness Madness or Dr. Phibes Rises Again on instant Watch, and I'm gone.

Maybe if I had really started my blog, rather than posting 3 times and then stopping, or if I had more free time (no, that's definitely not the problem...But I digress.

Why do you think it's soooooo divisive? Is it a male/female thing (I thought I notice a little of that in the posts, but sometimes it's impossible to know the gender of the blogger)? Or something intrinsic to the premise?

Or is it that it's actually a very uneven movie, with a premise that's a little too reminiscent of another recent movie (OpenWater, of course) but a premise that's still, in and of itself, horrifying, so that each reviewer brings some major expectations good and bad, and their reaction depends on how it plays to/against those preconceptions? And that the good moments become so good that they overwhelm the bad, or vice-versa?

then there are the reviews like yours, which split the difference. As usual, you are the voice of moderation.

I've got to see this movie. And I've got to stop writing huge run-on sentences.

Verification word- VULTYLO: Worst. He-Man Villain. Ever.

Stacie Ponder said...

I think the characters have a huge part in peoples' feelings about this movie. The first half hour is pretty much all exposition, and they're all really obnoxious people, very thinly written. That may leave a lingering 'bad taste'.

There are also situational things that will effect your feelings on it- there are plenty of opportunities to yell "Why don't you do THIS?", or "That would never happen!"- your enjoyment level is likely related to your ability to ignore those kind of things.

There are also long periods where nothing "happens" and they're just sitting, stranded; to some people that is engrossing and adds tension, to others that can just be boring.

It is very divisive. I had a good time with it, first half hour aside. I think he takes a familiar premise and makes it worth watching again. There's nothing wrong with "Open Water on a ski slope" if it's done fairly well. Characters aside, I think it's serviceable enough.

Stacie Ponder said...

Just wanted to add that "serviceable" has been my experience with every Adam Green movie- he writes some funny dialogue, has superb violence and gore, and makes an ultimately alright film in whatever subgenre he's tackling. Character development is largely lacking, but more than that, he doesn't have much in the way of visual style- it's capable and it works, but there's nothing special about the way his movies are shot, and there's not much artistry, for lack of a better word, to the visuals. He's early in his career, though, so maybe that'll change. I think if he could find some kind of voice beyond shout outs to his friends and wisecracks, his output would really improve. Just my opin-i-yon.

Mrs. Hall said...

Actually, in terms of liking or disliking the characters, I don't think you could actually like any of these people. They are shallow, selfish college kids. THey don't appear to have faced any adversity prior to this. Thus-they are fluffy and not at all hardy. And make stupid choices.

WAIT! Maybe that was part of the plan when this was written. Who else would make such stupid, anti-survival choices but inexperienced college kids?!!!

Stacie Ponder said...

Oh, I don't think there's any way to actually LIKE them...I think it's more simply getting over the hate. :D Girl Asshole is the only one with some really humanizing moments, and I found myself rooting for her in spite of myself.

Verdant Earl said...

There are a surprising number of positive reviews from the Film Club gang up there. And some folks who liked the characters and thought they made essentially good choices. I dunno...I think I was watching another flick.

BTW...I'm totally with you on Bro#2 with the gay thing. That would have been at least interesting.

Thomas Duke said...

I agree that the actress who played girl asshole was actually pretty good, and made girl asshole sympathetic.

In general, I find that people who have lived in Chicago or New York are pizza snobs (myself included), as pretty much any pizza you can get in either city is pretty awesome, minus Dominoes and Pizza Hut. Most other people seem to be perfectly happy with anything that's at least a notch above Pizza Hut. Of course, you can become a pizza snob if you have an awesome local place you regularly go to.

Word verification is "stypick", which is a guitar pick made out of pork...for your grease fire speed solos, of course.

Sarah said...

And here I thought Papa Gino's was some take on Papa John's pizza. So it's an actual chain in the Northeast?

Banned In Queensland said...

I’m about as far removed from the “the indie horror scene” as you can possibly get (I live on the other side of the world and have no interest in making films myself (seeing as there as so many other people prepared to slavishly do it for me)), so the references you mentioned, that Green included in the film, were lost on me. From my perspective they certainly didn’t draw attention to themselves or disrupt the story telling or character development.

The only conceit I found jarring was when they started spouting Star Wars references. They seemed too young to be original trilogy fans, and I’m not convinced that the prequels have any real fans.

For the record, I did like these characters. I appreciated the fact that they weren’t a jock, a nerd, & a cheerleader. Or a geek, a bad-boy, & a book-worm. Or any other combination of clich├ęd character types that we usually get served in these types of films. They seemed like regular college students, and I could totally relate that that early-adult-life situation when a new relationship puts stress on an age old friendship. I’m just saying that it rang true to me.

I don’t think they were douchey for trying to scam cheap lift rides either. Lift tickets are mind-bogglingly f***ing expensive. If they were printed on solid gold their face value would still be worth than the gold itself. It was totally true to character for college students to try to scam cheap lift rides. “Higher learning” is as much about learning how to scam cheap shit as it is about, uhm, well, higher leaning. All IMFIO.

Lazarus Lupin said...

This film wasn't my favorite but it's nice to change up from some of the older stuff. Stacie you keep things funky fresh and that's important. I never know what to expect next.

Keep up the good work!

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

Matt said...

@AE -- you are obviously incredible since you quoted Madonna in your comment. I bow at your feet!

@"Frozen" (the movie) -- I liked the acting, but the movie itself, not so much. I am just happy to see one Adam Green film where the women in it weren't solely there to be naked and frolicking. Green is from the Rob Zombie/Joe Lynch school of horror filmmaking that dictates women are only to be featured if they're (a) nude, (b) slutty, (c) brainless, (d) dependent on men, (e) disposable, and (f) all of the above. (See: "Hatchet" and "Hatchet II", and every other film these guys have made.)

Not the worst horror film I've seen by any means, but I wouldn't sit through it again.

Verification word: "hickship". Apparently this is where all the hicks go to take a cruise.

Stacie Ponder said...

Matt- absolutely in agreement. Even here, Girl Asshole was denigrated throughout the entire film, even though...what did she do? She seemed fairly nice, if dim. At least it was too cold for her to be a blow-up doll.

vampy said...

You know, reading the description of this reminds me of that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry gets stuck on the chair lift with the Orthodox Jewish girl.

That was a good episode.

I see a great mashup being made, somehow...

vampy said...

Oh, apparently someone else had the same idea, and there is a mashup on youtube already.

Anonymous said...

No one will come any nearer than that. In the dark. In the night.

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