Wednesday, January 19, 2011

frozen [2010]

i live just down the road from lake tahoe. lake tahoe is gorgeous! but the lake is better known for two things, its casinos, and its ski resorts. i rarely gamble and i never ski. i do go to tahoe when i can but i would rather look at the lake and explore the surrounding environs than step into those temples of tobacco smoke and desperation. the ski resorts too i reckon are abominations of honest, god-fearing mountains, slicing the crap out of nature so people can slide down on snow with sticks strapped to their feet.

clearly i'm in the minority regarding my thoughts on ski resorts and skiing since there are a hell of a lot of skiers living in sac. why not. the snow is hot and it is just up the road a bit. the lifts are reliable if not cheap. and that's just the set-up for this imminently watchable chamber piece of a horror flick. three goofballs can't cough up enough dough to pay for lift tickets so they bribe the lift operator with a few dollars so they can ski to their hearts content.

one wrinkle. its getting late, big weather is moving in, it is already dark and the lift operator wants to go home. oh but for one last run! please?! the goofballs up the ante a bit to a hundred dollars and get that one last lift. to hell.

a sequence of mishaps occur and the lift is shut down while our three protagonists are heading up the mountain. the lights of the resort and the runs shut down and our three are left dangling in the air about 50 ft off the ground. at first they can't believe they'd been forgotten and left on the lift. then they believe it. sunday night and the resort won't open up again till the next friday. a whole week to wait, or freeze to death, or worse.

it's the worse that makes this flick work as well as it does. the actors do a believable job of bravado and panic. the writing is crisp and the photography and editing are sharp. if this flick reminds me of a similar set-up in the two-against-nature-but-this-time-stuck-in-the-sea open water [2003] perhaps maybe there is a new sub-genre of horror movie where ordinary people must fight to survive in situations in nature that are unlikely but wholly convincing. nature no longer produces atomic monsters like godzilla or mutations that are the result of toxic pollution. nature can kill us with no outside help alone, thank you very much, and maybe this new sub-genre, let's call it, um, nature kill, reminds us that nature is awesome and we are a small part of nature.

awesomeness. that's not how i'd describe this pic even if i enjoyed it. there was a certain level of dread the filmmakers created that worked despite my b.s. detector going off a few times when our goofballs did something stupid. but that is the nature of horror movies. if the characters all behaved sensibly and with good common sense then i'd be stuck watching only lame-ass sitcoms and reality tv. the only horror would be a shot of my blood-shot eyes as i reached for the remote hoping for a shot of nature maybe on the national geographic channel or on public television. or maybe i could just shut the damn tube off and hop in my car, drive up the road into the hills and see tahoe firsthand. that might be awesome too. if it doesn't try to kill me.


At 9:30 AM, Blogger Jim K. said...

There are hang-ups and people
get stuck for hours. There were
a bunch injured at Sugarloaf
when a line fell off lately...
but the snow (even hard-pack)
helps with a drop. I hung off the
footrest (eons ago) and dropped

They check the lines after shutdown,
and with binocs in the light..

Not too likely, but if you are
new to skiing or haven't at all,
it's plausible.

About nature vs. skiing...
the slope clearings do some
good things, if you leave woods.
But the blasting floods from the
thaw of the snowmaking cause all
hell to erupt at the base of the
hill now and then. Making super
channels cuts the water off from
the critters..
Erosion is the big oops..

I haven't skied for 20 yrs.
Too much $$$$$$$$$$$.

Drama-wise, having it all in one
chairlift seems doomed. 90 minute

At 9:33 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

well, jim, it worked out okay. movie was pretty taut despite it's level of believability. what i think is interesting is what genre filmmakers are doing with nature. instead of nature striking back thru some aberration that was caused by humans, now it is our own stupidity that allows the blank forces of nature to kill.


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