[The following was written by both of us as part of the Final Girl Film Club; go check it out. Also note that spoilers are abundant, like wolves at a ski resort.]
So, Frozen! Or as I like to call it Poor Decisions: The Movie (or Douchey White Kids Doing Stupid Things and Paying For It: The Movie or I Don’t Give a Shit If These Characters Die: The Movie or Women Can’t Do Anything Right: The Movie or Nothing Happens for a While Then SOME WOLVES Then Nothing Happens for a While Then SOME FROSTBITE Then Nothing Happens for a While and Then MORE WOLVES and Then The End: The Movie). And now that I’ve stretched that joke to its logical extreme let’s talk about some assholes getting eaten by wolves!
Have you seen Open Water, my friend? It’s that movie that did for swimming what Jaws did for swimming, remember? About the couple who get left out in the middle of the goddamn ocean while scuba diving and [spoiler] totes get eaten by sharks. This is just like that! Just replace “ocean” with “ski lift” and “sharks” with “wolves” and you’ve got Frozen! Oh, and also replace “tension” with “hilarity” and “characters” with “place-holding dead meat” and “actual fear” with “oh-my-god-did-he-seriously-just-say-‘Wolves are pussies’?!?!?!” and then you have Frozen.
If you can’t tell from my endless well of snark, this movie is… well, bad. Really bad. Hilariously bad. Which makes it the kind of movie that Andreas and I just eat up with a big, goddamn, bad-dialogue-and-character-development spoon. We start out with some of the blandest, most boring (yet somehow completely unlikeable) characters ever as they attempt to bribe their way onto a swank ski resort’s lifts without paying full price for tickets. Our characters are as follows: Bro, Girlfriend, and Super Douchey Bro Who Is Jealous of Bro’s Girlfriend. They have real names, but do they really matter?
So Bro, Girlfriend and Douchey Bro (as he will be referred to from here on out) spend the day on the bunny slopes because Girlfriend is useless (you know, ’cause she has a vagina) and can’t even look at a snowboard without falling on her ass. Douchey Bro gets all up in arms about it and is all like “RWAR I WANNA DO SOME REAL MAN’S SNOWBOARDING NOT THIS GIRLY, PUSSY SHIT!” So, through a combination of Girlfriend’s guilt over intruding on precious, sacred Dood Time and both Girlfriend and Bro’s combined wish to appease the beast that is Douchey Bro’s butthurt-ness, they convince the lift operator they bribed earlier to let them take JUST ONE MORE RIDE, DUDE, COME ON, WE PAID YOU A HUNDRED BUCKS, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO NIGHT SKIING, GAWD!?
The operator gives them pretty damn good reasons why they shouldn’t: he’s not just being a killjoy, there’s some serious weather moving in, and motherfuckers need to go. But no amount of logic will stop stupid young adults who are under the impression that they can’t be eviscerated and have their entrails totally fucking eaten by wolves. So, through a series of stupid events, Bro, Girlfriend and Douchey Bro end up stranded hiiigh above the ground in the cold darkness.
So… yeah. They’re up there and it’s cold and junk. So they sit there and Douchey Bro is (surprisingly) acting like a douche. And okay, seriously, these people ARE SO FUCKING BORING. This part of the movie consists of Douchey Bro trying to play games like “Favorite Food” to distract himself from the biting cold (because it totally started snowing like five seconds after all the lights went out and they became stranded). Is this really your tension building device, Frozen? Really? REALLY?
So finally Bro decides, FUCK IT, IMMA JUMP! This is probably the most interesting part of the whole movie simply because the movie is extraordinarily cruel to this character (who is the most likeable out of this incredibly unlikeable trio of assholes [and he’s only the most likeable because he doesn’t have defining characteristics such as ‘being useless and crying a lot’ or ‘being a dick hole’]). Earlier in the film, when our three fuckers are discussing what they think is the scariest ways to die are, Bro says that the scariest for him would be being eaten by an animal, just seeing it coming and knowing what will happen (movie uses FORESHADOWING! IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE!). So Bro jumps and is totally 100% okay. J/k, his legs are all:
And so what do you think happens to our Bro? Eaten by wolves, motherfucker. (But not before Girlfriend and Douchey Bro THROW DOWN ARTICLES OF THEIR CLOTHING to try and SOMEHOW help Bro. They are smart, smart people.) And then Girlfriend is all:
And I’m just like “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.” Which is NOT how you’re supposed to respond to someone being eaten by wolves. And honestly, beyond this moment, the movie just really becomes a blur for me; a hodgepodge of obnoxious crying, pointless bickering, anti-climactic shots of frostbite, boring camerawork, and one incredibly, unnecessarily gratuitous shot of Girlfriend pissing herself. So, since my I think I’ve written more snark than even I can handle, I will hand the rest of the review over to Andreas.
I admit I didn’t come into Frozen expecting visual poetry or nuanced characters; all I really wanted was a good people-trapped-in-a-scary-place movie that, perhaps, would prey on my fear of heights and disdain for the cold. (As a lifelong Minnesotan, I’ve basically been enduring an earthbound version of Frozen during my daily walks to class.) Under those fairly mild expectations, writer/director Adam Green’s third film is a qualified success. Only a handful of scenes actually scared me, but at least the rest of it was ridiculous and laughable enough to be entertaining. After all, as Ashley pointed out, “[wolves]’re pussies, man.”
Between the wolves, the broken legs, the frostbite, and the skin-coming-off-Parker’s-hands thing, Frozen did have some effective gross-out moments, but they were all pretty inert. When Parker (aka Girlfriend) tears her hands off the bar and sees all the congealed blood, she just gazes at them; it’s like she’s thinking, “Huh. I don’t remember them being like that.” In fact, it reminds a little me of Sharon’s brother and his skeletized hands in Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. (By the way, will someone please make Death Chairlift: The Chairlift That Eats?) In between these flashes of gore, we get lots of potentially suspenseful waiting. Yes, we as viewers are also trapped in the chairlift… unfortunately, we’re trapped there with fucking Parker and Lynch, as well as their inane, interminable dialogue.
Jesus Christ, Parker and Lynch. If given the choice, I think I’d rather be trapped in that elevator with the assholes from Devil. Or better yet, in that house from Saw II. (With Shawnee Smith! Sigh.) Up in that chairlift, you’re forced to listen to Douchey Bro Lynch prattle on about his past, his future, his hopes, his dreams, and man, is he a boring person! It’s like all of a sudden you’re watching an avant-garde production of Waiting for Godot, where Godot is a pack of wolves and “Shall we go?” — “Yes, let’s go,” is the conversation you’re having with your viewing companion. It’s not like I’m allergic to a little tension-building inactivity, but where was the tension? They were cold, then they continued being cold.
In fact, this cycle of “shot, reverse shot, anecdote, establishing shot” went on for so long that I made up a little song to bide the time. Which is to say that I came up with several new verses to Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like a Wolf,” featuring lines like
He fell to the ground,
It made a loud sound,
Then he got eaten by a wolf…
You get the idea.
Personally, I prefer the writing in Frozen‘s early scenes. Since Green isn’t trying to push the pathos button yet (“Oh no! Lynch was going to marry that girl he just met! Now I care about him!”), we get delightfully silly lines like, “Football games are more than ten minutes. They’re like lots of ten minuteses, you know?” or “I don’t know. She’s naked. Naked chicks are hot.” (Both courtesy of Douchey Bro Lynch.) I also loved the redundancy in Parker’s panicked screams when they realize they’re stuck: “We have to get out of these chairs! We can’t stay up in this chair! Why isn’t the goddamn chair moving, Dan?!” Hey, if Adam Green doesn’t take these characters seriously, why should I?
So rest assured, Frozen has enough of these bad-movie perks to make it worth your while. And at its best, it gets pretty scary: the characters may be loud-mouthed ciphers, but the climactic climb across the chairlift cables would put me on edge if it was being performed by a crash test dummy. As Douchey Bro Lynch would say, I’m a pussy when it comes to heights. The biggest tragedy of Frozen, though, is that it looks so boring. I understand the story’s inherent visual limitations, but seriously, that poster at the top is way more dynamic than the movie itself ever gets! It’s bad enough that the writing’s so painfully generic without having a palette that consists entirely of dull white and murky nighttime blue.
If you’re desperate for a people-trapped-in-a-scary-place horror movie fix, Frozen should suffice, but it’s pretty thin gruel. In closing, here’s a list of lessons I learned from Dan, Lynch, and Parker’s wacky misadventures:
- Wolves are pussies. (But they will still nom your face off.)
- In times of crisis, men yell things and do stupid shit. Women cry, piss themselves, and sleep with their skin against freezing metal. (These are called gender stereotypes.)
- If you’re going skiing, bring a cellphone.
- If you don’t bring a cellphone, at least let someone know where you are and when you’ll be back.
- If you don’t do that, you’re one of the characters in Frozen. Dumbass.
- Sarlacc > wolves.
- Don’t itch at it, for chrissake!
- Hang on to every warm article of clothing you have. A scarf hanging from a tree will not help save your boyfriend from wolves.
- He ran down the slope, / There was a ray of hope, / But then he got eaten by a wolf…