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Frozen (Blu-ray Review)

When I first met Director/Writer Adam Green at Comic-Con this past July I thought, “oh wow, that’s a cool looking Metallica throwback t-shirt he’s wearing.”  From afar, it looked like a nostalgic Ride The Lightning album t-shirt (possibly paying homage to “Trapped Under Ice”), but upon closer inspection, the Frozen movie logo was staring me right in the face (see here).  Like his Hatchet film before, I had never seen Frozen, but I knew I wanted to.  So after the Hatchet II panel, I immediately did what comes natural to me, YouTube! One glance at the trailer was all it took for me to want to check this movie out.  Thanks to the PR folks responsible for the promotion of the Blu-ray release, my dream has now become a reality.  So if you have a few minutes, and even if you don’t stick around (that’s an order), let’s take a look at one of the most chilling Blu-ray adventures that’s a MUST-have for your HD video collection.  Ladies and gentlemen…I present to you Adam Green’s Frozen.

Film  

Simply put, Frozen is one of the coldest movie experiences you will ever have in the warmth of your own living room.  I guarantee it!  And just to set the record straight, I mean that in the nicest and most sincere way.  The film was shot in the beginning of 2009 at Snowbasin in Utah.  The Adam Green directed/written film stars Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore and Kane Hodder.  And of course, Adam Green makes a very brief appearance in the film as well.  This guy just knows how to have fun!  It just would not be an Adam Green film without him smirking in it.  The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010, but unfortunately its North American theater release, distributed by Anchor Bay Films, was extremely limited.  The film went on to receive mixed critical reviews, but who cares about them.  I’m the authority here.  This is my review!

Remember back in the days what Jaws did to moviegoers?  Well if you don’t, then let me refresh your memory.  Jaws literally made people terrified of going into the water.  After one viewing of Frozen, I can safely say I won’t be going skiing, snowboarding or remotely near a ski lift anytime soon.  You can take that to the bank.  In its simplest synopsis, Frozen tells the nightmare tale of three friends (Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers and Shawn Ashmore) when they get stranded on a ski chairlift taking them up the hill for the last run of the day, or should I say night.  The threesome quickly fill with fear, dread and growing panic as they realize they been left behind until the following weekend, dangling high above the ground with no feasible way down.

With frostbite and hypothermia quickly setting in, the trio is forced to take desperate measures to escape the blistery mountain before they ultimately freeze to death, but in actuality, the cold is the least of their problems, as you will soon find out.  Are the three able to confront their fears? Do they have the natural instincts necessary for survival?  I’m not going to tell you.  That’s the horror of Frozen.  Things may not go bump in the night like your typical horror film, but it’s the realism that Adam Green injects here that makes this so much more terrifying than any slasher film you ever experienced.  Why?  Because this sh!t could actually happen, and that’s scary if you ask me.

But if you want to know the real truth behind the success of Frozen, then here it is.  Are you ready?  It’s the characters.  In the very short time we get to know the characters before their hellish predicament unfolds, we form an instant bond with them like super glue quickly sticking your fingers together if you are not careful with the application of it.  Adam Green crafts the characters with both precision thought and heartfelt care.  By the time the trio takes the fateful final ride up the mountainside, I felt like I already knew these three my whole life.  The relationships formed in the very short time upon that stuck ski lift are synonymous with the natural instant bond formed between a mother and child and it only lends itself to the horrifying credibility Adam manages to achieve throughout the presentation.  The peril and quest to preserve human life the trio face will feed the primal fear in all of us.  And that’s all I am going to say here.  You just need to experience the agonizing world of Frozen for yourself.  This one is a nail biter folks.  There are no other words to describe it.  Well, I guess on-the-edge-of-your-seat, intense and death defying come pretty close too.

Parker: It could be worse?

Dan: How could it be worse?

Parker: It could be the Sarlacc Pit.

Video  

Anchor Bay Entertainment recreates the frigid temperatures of Frozen on the Blu-ray format with a blistering AVC MPEG-4 video encode and a framed widescreen aspect ratio presentation of 2.40:1.  While the film may not be as razor sharp as Adam Green’s last outing on the Blu-ray format with Hatchet, you can’t fault the man for trying here.  If there is one thing you will learn in the Special Features section below, it is the fact that this film was shot entirely on location (bad weather and all), no green screens or cheating allowed.  Heck, it’s really a wonder it looks as good as it does.  It’s obvious that great care and consideration were given on how to make this movie look just right despite the climatic disadvantages Adam and crew were at while filming this.  Under the bright, but still cold sun, the colors all look natural.  Skin tones appear normal and the fine textures that adorn the clothing are all intact.  However, when the lights go out, that’s when the real fun begins.  Although faces are not as sharp as one may like them to be at times, the black levels are gorgeous throughout with not even the slightest amount of minimal grain trying to be vehemently intrusive.  Again, I think once you watch the Special Features of Frozen (descriptions found below), you will appreciate this video transfer that much more for how good it looks considering the factors and harsh conditions that went on behind-the-scenes.

Audio  

Much like my experience with Adam’s Hatchet on Blu-ray (see the full review here), the audio track here will knock you out of your seats.  If the gusting wind and bass doesn’t get you, then the howling wolves swarming around you will.  Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Frozen on Blu-ray with an in-your-face Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track.  It will put a chill down your spine as your exposed to the frustrating winter elements all around you.  And if you are a dialog whore like me, then rest assured, you will never have a problem hearing what the actors are saying.  That’s so important to me and considering how this movie was filmed (you will find out in the Special Features below), the audio track is quite remarkable.  I know Adam was personally quite pleased by how this audio surround track sounds on the Blu-ray format, and I couldn’t agree more with him.  I was tempted a few times to turn my receiver down as the LFE booms get pretty intense, but I hung in there as my eyes were glued to the screen and I did not want to take them off for even a quick moment.  The film is not your action packed sugar coated roller coaster ride like Prince of Persia, but it is what is (and I hate that saying so much), quite simply, a solid surround track accompanying an intense psychological agonizing thriller.  Enjoy it!

Special Features  

If you know me well enough and regularly read my Blu-ray reviews, then you will also know that I could usually care less about a disc’s “Special Features.”  That all changed in life when I met Adam Green this past July.  Would it sound weird to say that I was actually looking forward to viewing the special features on this disc as much as I was the movie itself?  Well as strange it sounds, I was.  You see, there is more to an Adam Green film than just the feature itself.  He is living motivational proof that upcoming filmmakers out there can go against the grain, overcome the “no’s” and achieve their dreams.  I know this because he told me so, but don’t take my word for it, take his.  If there are any aspiring filmmakers out there who are reading this and feel like they are never going to make it, then I want you to read the next few sentences very carefully.  I would like to paraphrase something he said to me recently.  I hope he doesn’t mind me using this.  Adam’s goal is for aspiring filmmakers to walk away from each “Adam Green Experience” feeling like there is hope and ready to take on the world.  He went on to say that we have enough people telling us the odds and saying “no” and that he hopes that with each of his films you dive into, you will find your own moment of inspiration.  If those are not the words of a prophet, then I don’t know what are.  So hopefully you can see why I was so eager to tackle the special features found on the Frozen Blu-ray disc.  Okay, enough of me yapping.  Let’s discuss the special features in some greater detail.

Like the case with my last Blu-ray review (Spartacus: Blood and Sand), I am ecstatic to report that nearly every special feature on the Frozen Blu-ray disc is presented in glorious high definition.  You don’t know how much that warms my heart uttering these magical words.  Yes, you read that right.  The words “High Definition” are magical in my vocabulary.  Anyway, upon the disc’s insertion into your Blu-ray player you will be greeted with the following non-skippable (unless you hit the “Next” button on your remote) HD trailers of Hatchet, I Spit On Your Grave, After Life, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Dante’s Inferno and a UFC promo.  After you get through all that then you are well on your way to a chilling movie experience and of course, the special sauce that compliments the disc’s main feature…the Blu-ray’s fabulous extras!

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green and Actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers and Emma Bell
  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt and Editor Ed Marx

  • Catching Frostbite: The Origins of Frozen (10:59, HD) – Adam Green talks about how he conceived the idea of Frozen, how he could make the feature on a low budget and make it attractive to financiers and most amusingly, he tells about how ideas strike him at the most inconvenient times like how the mood struck while he was working 20 hour days on the set of Grace.  I think I suffer from this too.  Crewmembers (Cory Neal, Will Barratt, Craig Borden, Bryan McBrien, Jason Miller, Kane Hodder) discussed how much they liked the idea, how they pushed him to write the script and described how Adam wanted this film to be grounded in absolute reality.  A Bigger Boat (Peter Block, Tim Williams) are also on hand to give viewers an inside look at why they wanted this to be their very first film.  This is a MUST-SEE for all aspiring filmmakers.  Make sure you WATCH this one!  Adam goes into detail on how important it is to surround yourself with a team of individuals that want it as bad as you do.
  • Three Below Zero (10:50, HD) – Adam describes how important it was to find the right actors for the film and briefly discusses the casting process.  It really blows my mind that he actually stumbled upon two main actors (X-Men’s Shawn Ashmore & Kevin Zegers) who have also been best friends since age four.  How did you do that Adam?  Amazing chemistry you got right from the get go!  Adam goes into detail about the dynamics between the onscreen relationships of the three leads.  Brilliant stuff!  When you watch this film you will realize, you don’t need a Jessica Alba, Josh Duhamel and a Dane Cook, you just need to build characters the audience can relate to and care about (laugh, cry and love with).  And most importantly, Adam dissects the character arcs and the importance of having actors who are willing to do what it takes.  Screenwriting 101 folks…pay attention!

  • Shooting Through It (11:17, HD) – Adam talks about the crew he surrounds himself with and in turn, they talk about each other too.  It was very interesting to learn how they lighted the area so that even in the dark you could see well into the woods and how the snow was actually the ultimate bounce card. Also, they discussed how they wanted the audience to experience vertigo with the heights.  There’s great stuff to be learned here if you are curious to see how this movie was made behind-the-scenes.  But you want to know what the best part of this featurette was?  It was the fact that Adam discusses how no one wanted to be that high operating the cameras, the brutality of shooting in the cold environment and ultimately admits how he himself is afraid of heights.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  When you, as a writer, compose a body of work that feeds off your innermost fears, then you are going to have something really special to share with the world.  Mark my words.  And if you are even slightly interested in finding out how they filmed the very painful jump scene, then you HAVE to watch this!  You won’t be sorry, unless bones breaking through the skin make you queasy.  Nah.  I didn’t think so.

  • Beating the Mountain: Surviving Frozen (52:55, HD) – This documentary starts with the conclusion of Adam’s involvement with the production of Grace and picks up another ten months later as they began filming Frozen.  Adam starts the interviews by recounting how he warned potential crewmembers how brutal the filming of Frozen was going to be and how he would talk people out of it from getting involved.  He did not sugar coat anything.  He told people from the start that while this will be a rewarding experience, the freezing temperatures would not be pleasant by any means.  From the jacket he wears that is rated to minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit to the rat-a-tat-tat pounding of the real snow, the making of Frozen is not for the faint of heart.  That’s right, real snow, no hail machines required.  I’m not going to spend too much time here as this is a long one, and like the others, this one is also a MUST-see.  Are you starting to see a trend here?  Treat this one as your ultimate insider look and video production diary of the making of Frozen.  I also learned something new today.  I was wondering why there were scenes where we did not see the actors’ breath on location.  Well, I learned today that those were the days when it was the coldest and it was literally unachievable to capture their breath.  If you ever wondered what it’s like to shoot in temperatures you don’t want to spend more than five minutes in or you always wanted to work with wolves, then this one is for you.  Give it a watch when you have some time to spare.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.
  • Deleted Scenes (6:27, SD) – The deleted scenes can be played with optional audio commentary by Writer/Director Adam Green.  Come on.  Why wouldn’t you want to listen to him while you play these?  I’m never really a fan of deleted scenes, but if they are your thing, have at them!
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:51, HD) – This one is kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think?  Check out the HD theatrical trailer of Frozen if you haven’t already.  It’s what made me want to check this film out months ago.
  • Chair 92 (1:36, HD) – This little Easter Egg that I found recalls the fact that the movie was shot on a possible haunted located.  Although they used chair #75 in the movie, it was chair #92 where only a year ago someone died on (bullet hole still intact).  This Easter Egg is accessible via a little paw-like emblem found if you scroll over to the right after “Trailers.”

Say what you want to say about my scoring here, but you are essentially getting more value than what you originally paid for here with the “Adam Green Experience.”  It’s like a college semester in filmmaking all for under $30.  Money talks, right?  Now you see the value here, right?  Good!  That means you realize that my score of 4.5 is both warranted and justified.  Let’s wrap this up now!

Final Thoughts  

You do the math folks.  It’s really that simple.  Adam Green’s Frozen is a MUST-have in your home video collection.  You owe it to yourself to check this one out and see what all the buzz is about and discover why Adam Green is one of the most prolific up and coming writers the films his name is attached to.  With a special feature department that any aspiring filmmaker would gladly fork over hundreds to learn about, a gusting audio track and a video presentation that will leave you chilled to the bone, there’s no reason not to give Adam Green’s Frozen a test drive, that is unless you are afraid of heights, snow, cold temperatures, ice and wolves, but even so, that’s perfect too.  Give this one a watch folks.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.  May I offer one small tip?  You should maybe wear a pair of gloves when watching this Blu-ray for the first time.  That way you won’t go into work the next day with bloody fingertips from the fingernails that you gnawed and ripped off nervously while watching Frozen.  Until the next “Adam Green Experience”…

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Frozen chills on Blu-ray September 28th.  Pre-order yours today!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

5 Responses to “Frozen (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Scott T. Morrison

    Sounds like a movie I gotta see!

  2. Sean Ferguson

    Sounds good but I can’t believe you don’t like special features! Those are a highlight for me. Hopefully, this movie will get you to start watching the extras!

  3. Brian White

    @Scott…you definitely NEED to!

    @Sean…usually I find them a waste or a bore but anything Adam Green is involved in…well he gets my full attention…he pays special homage to all the aspiring filmmakers out there and each documentary on his movies is “priceless advice” you just can’t get in film school.

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    Ok, I just watched Frozen and it’s fantastic! Wasn’t big on Hatchet, but this flick kicked ass.

  5. Chris Duncan

    Very well written. I saw this at the movie store and was not sure about it. After reading this I am definitely going to get it and check it out.