Posts Tagged ‘Suspense’

MOVIE: Frozen (2010)

October 20, 2010

I had pretty low expectations for this film after reading a few reviews of it online that said it was essentially a bad rip-off of Open Water.  But since I haaaaated Open Water, I figured a bad rip-off of it might actually have some potential.  And, wonder of wonders, I ended up enjoying this one quite a bit.  (Of course, I was home sick at the time and my only other option for entertainment was endless reruns of Law & Order.  Compared to that, anything would’ve been a big improvement.  Your mileage may vary, of course. As always.)

The story is about three young college kids — a couple, Parker and Dan, and Dan’s best friend Joe — who have gone skiing for the day.  The plan was for Parker and Joe to bond at last, but as the day goes on, it becomes clear that Joe resents Parker for having stolen Dan from him, as well as for crashing their annual ski trip together.

Frustrated after having spent the whole day on the bunny slopes catering to Parker’s lack of experience on skis and snowboards, Joe pressures the group at the end of the day to try to take one more run together, this time down a real hill.  As they get to the chair-lift, though, the operator tells them a storm is coming and they’re clearing the hill — no more runs for the day.  Parker sweet talks him into letting them go up one more time, though, and they all climb aboard.

Halfway up the hill, the operator gets called inside to talk about his schedule, and his replacement, assuming the slopes have been emptied, turns the power off, shutting down the system.

At first, the three think it’s just a glitch.  Earlier in the day, the lift had stalled for a few tense minutes and then started back up again; surely this is just the same thing.  But then the lights at the lodge go off as well.  And the snow starts to swirl.  It soon becomes evident, much to their frozen horror, that they’re stuck.

As the flurries turn into a blizzard, the temperature drops dramatically and Parker begins to get frostbite on her cheek.  They all start to panic, and finally, Dan says what they’ve all been thinking:  they’re going to die if someone doesn’t try to jump and go for help.  The group argues about this plan briefly, but Dan refuses to listen.  A moment later, he pushes himself off the lift, crashes to the ground. . . and promptly shatters both his legs.

And then the wolves show up.  The hungry, hungry wolves.  Ruh-roh.

Now, sure, this movie IS essentially a rip-off of Open Water, that 2003 flick about two divers who get left behind by their boat and find themselves spending the night in an ocean full of sharks.  But, to be honest, the two characters in that film drove me bananas.  I felt nothing for either of them, buncha quitters, and was totally rooting for the sharks the entire time (plus, don’t get me started on the fact Open Water begins by telling us it’s a true story — nice trick when there weren’t any witnesses left at the end.  Annoying!).  The characters in Frozen, on the other hand, while certainly being a little on the whiny 20-something side, were somehow far more relatable.  They run through the same gamut of emotions — fear, panic, denial, resolve, depression, more panic, more resolve, more denial — but somehow they do it in a way that didn’t annoy me quite as much.

I also found the story pretty edge-of-my-seat overall.  I’m not likely to get left out at sea surrounded by sharks, but every time I’ve been on a chair-lift, I’ve thought for a moment about getting stuck up there.  No fan of heights, me.  (Or of skiing, for that matter.)  This was a fear I could completely relate to.  And I felt like their reactions to it, including their ideas on how to get out of the situation, were pretty spot-on.

Definitely worth a rental if you like these sorts of things.   I found this film satisfyingly gripping and entertaining.  Well worth the $3.99, so hop to it!

[Netflix it | Buy it | Rent/Stream at Amazon]

Genre:  Suspense, Action
Cast:  Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore, Kane Hodder


BOOK: The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen (2008)

November 10, 2009

thekeepsakeAfter reading Moby Dick last month, I decided it was time for something frivolous.  Luckily, I had this Tess Gerritsen paperback handy.  I’ve read several other of her thrillers featuring medical examiner Maura Isles and police detective Jane Rizzoli and have enjoyed all of them.  Great mysteries, fairly decent science, and occasional bits of sarcastic humor from Rizzoli = good combo for a rainy day, plane trip, or the week after you’ve just waded through 900 pages about how to decapitate and gut a sperm whale.

In this one, Dr. Isles is called in to help a local museum examine a mummy they’ve just discovered in storage in their basement.  She’s pretty excited to be involved in something so big — “Madam X,” as the mummy is being called, is about to be the museum’s biggest draw ever.  But as she begins her examination, she’s startled to discover bits of metal in the mummy’s jaw — bits of metal that look suspiciously like dental fillings.  While the Egyptians WERE pretty medically advanced for their time, none of the museum curators remember ever having seen evidence of dental work like that before.

Then the good doctor begins to look a little lower in the body, only to find a bullet embedded in the victim’s lower leg.  While it’s possible the bullet could’ve gotten into the mummy later (a stray shooting, e.g.), it’s definitely not possible that the mummy’s bone would then have started to mend itself around it.  Obviously, this mummy is no mummy — it’s a modern-day homicide victim that’s been disguised as a mummy and hidden in the museum basement where the killer figured nobody would notice it.

Soon after Dr. Isles has gotten the cops involved, including Det. Jane Rizzoli, one of the museum’s curators vanishes and the plot thickens.  Where it goes from there, I’ll leave it to you to discover.  All in all, a great little thriller that kept me turning pages long past my bedtime and left me with the urge to stock up on a few more of Gerritsen’s books for the next time I need something fun.  Like tomorrow.


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