Yet another reason to stay inside the lodge, Frozen turns the irksome circumstance of a stalled ski lift into a seminightmarish test of survival. Like the 2004 actors-as-bait shark shocker Open Water (another Sundance sensation), this new movie grafts low-budget cred onto a high-concept premise that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in Hollywood. A trio of fun-loving collegians—blowhard Dan (Zegers), his blond-bunny girlfriend Parker (Bell) and third wheel Joe (Ashmore)—bribe a distracted attendant into letting them take one final night run. Halfway to the top of the mountain, they’re stranded high above the ground on the swinging bench, the park shut down and hungry wolves gathering below. (Sorry, but who snowboards without an iPhone?)
When writer-director Adam Green sticks to the microcalculations of urgency, his movie has a compelling gruesomeness: How long before someone jumps? Is that a ladder up ahead? What does frostbite really look like? But Green certainly gets what he pays for regarding his performers, a uniformly bland bunch not talented enough to strike ironic notes of vapidity. Lengthy monologues about dating and puppies test the endurance of all involved; a crackerjack screenwriter like Larry Cohen (Phone Booth) would have been more inventive in the gaps. Better to defrost Alive or The Edge from the video icebox.