One situation that I find absolutely terrifying is being lost in the wilderness. Whether alone or with a friend, being away from civilization and unable to find my way home would probably give me a heart attack from stress before the elements, animals, or backwoods cannibals got me. From this perspective, The Frozen is totally effective as the main characters find themselves stranded approximately ten miles from the nearest road with no direction as to how to get back. Adding to that, they hear strange sounds outside their tent at night and a mysterious man appears from time to time but doesn't speak and vanishes without a trace. Although this movie contains some of the usual elements that occur in the "camping in isolation" subgenre, I don't mind as some of these cliches in the same way I don't mind knowing that a slasher movie will usually contain a final girl, a shower, and a body count.
Mike (Seth David Mitchell) has decided to take his girlfriend Emma (Brit Morgan) on a snowmobiling trip in the middle of winter. He chooses a place that the locals have suggested which is in the middle of nowhere but has beautiful scenery. On the way to the camping spot, they find some mutilated animals but chalk it up to hunters and continue on their way. Shortly after arriving, they crash their snowmobile and decide to stay the night and deal with the situation in the morning. After the first night of creepy noises and the initial appearances of the silent man who looks like a hunter (Noah Segan - Deadgirl, Starry Eyes), the couple decides to try to hike back to their truck but find that their trail markers are missing. They return to the campsite and both of them begin to get frustrated with each other but the go to bed for a second night. More noises lead Mike to investigate but he does not return leaving Emma to fend for herself and try to find a way out of her predicament.
Survival movies are difficult to get right but this one hooked me in quickly and held up through most of the running time. Even though there was somewhat of a routine of aimlessly walking by day and being freaked out by night, I found this to be quite effective. Director Andrew Hyatt has a number of tricks up his sleeve but takes his time showing his cards making for an intriguing and frightening 90 minutes as there is more going on that just dealing with the elements, loneliness, and a dwindling food supply. Brit Morgan does a great job carrying the movie under challenging conditions and conveying her fear and frustration well considering she is the only person on screen the majority of the time. My only complaint is that I did not get the feeling of desperation from the character that I certainly would have been experiencing in the same situation. There are a number of moments that would have had me moving out of the area as quickly as possible at first light where the character just rolls with it for the most part.
This was a nice surprise as I was not expecting much but ended up with a unique take on this type of movie that left me with a lot to ponder as the closing credits rolled. The scares are well-placed but the movie does not rely simply rely on jump scares to get under your skin. Admittedly, I did have an idea as to what was going on before the finale but I still found the movie came to a satisfying conclusion. The score from Golden State frontman James Grundler is quite effective by staying in the background but providing a consistent atmosphere. This movie has definitely reaffirmed the seed of fear of isolated camping that The Blair Witch Project planted. Well done. (Josh Pasnak, 11/13/19)
Directed By: Andrew Hyatt.
Written By: Andrew Hyatt.
Starring: Brit Morgan, Seth David Mitchell, Noah Segan.