Directed by Andrew Hyatt
Distributed by Arc Entertainment
From first-time filmmaker Andrew Hyatt comes The Frozen, an indie thriller centered around an unfortunate couple (Brit Morgan, Seth David Mitchell) whose travels on a winter camping trip go horribly awry after their snowmobile is wrecked, leaving them battered and stranded in the middle of nowhere. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they soon discover there’s a mysterious hunter (Noah Segan) tracking their every move, leaving the young lovers terrified and desperate to find their way out of the snowy wilderness before it’s too late.
When taking into consideration the budget and time constraints Hyatt and both his cast and crew had to work with on The Frozen, the project is a rather admirable, albeit flawed, effort that may not necessarily be reinventing the wheel here with the story or the film’s twist, but Morgan delivers a truly engaging and compelling performance that perhaps elevates The Frozen above Hyatt’s sometimes uneven directional approach (being his first time, it’s understandable).
On a positive note, Hyatt’s script for The Frozen is absolutely a solid effort, with the main couple and their relationship being the heart and soul of the story so Hyatt wisely keeps focus on them while maintaining a nice sense of tension simmering on the sidelines throughout much of the film’s second half. The film also feels much ‘bigger’ than its budget, a lot of that due to the wonderful cinematography work by Maximilian Gutierrez that gives The Frozen a wide-open feel, with the wintry landscapes playing nicely into the sense of isolation Hyatt establishes here.
As mentioned earlier, Hyatt shows a bit of first-time jitters at the directorial helm on The Frozen with my biggest complaint being that the first-timer needed a bit more focus in his material; at certain points it just feels like Hyatt’s killing time and that he could have tightened up the film a bit, particularly in the second and third acts. Thankfully, though, the writer/director includes a fun little twist in the ending that works rather nicely.
Some may be turned off by the reveal, or some may be underwhelmed by how quietly Hyatt approaches that moment in particular, but I thought it played nicely into the character development of Morgan’s heroine in The Frozen and gives the up-and-coming actress a great moment to really embrace the softer side of her character. It’s hard to justify what I enjoyed most about the moment without heading into spoiler territory so all I will say is that it’s not a groundbreaking twist by any means, but it certainly wasn’t one I necessarily saw coming either, which is a rarity these days.
Indie horror fans who dig more character-driven projects will find The Frozen worth checking out; led by a strong and willful performance from “True Blood” alum Morgan, it is an admirable effort by Hyatt that shows promise of a filmmaker with a bright future who just needs a bit more experience under his belt before he can tackle bigger projects. While certainly not a flawless affair, Hyatt’s work on The Frozen is a great example of an indie filmmaker not letting a small budget get in the way of telling a compelling story and proves you don’t need a large ensemble or huge set pieces to fall back on when you have a great story to keep audiences engaged.
3 out of 5
0 out of 5