Friday, August 23, 2013

The Frozen Ground – review

The Frozen Ground is a 2013 thriller set in Alaska, 1983. The film is about the hunt for serial killer Robert Hansen.  It does a really good job following the true crime novel Butcher, Baker.  The acting is really good and it adds to the grim realism of the film that they filmed a great deal of it in Anchorage and other Alaskan locations.  The Frozen Ground pays a lot of attention to detail to make it look like the dirty, gritty, Anchorage of the 1980s.

Cindy Paulson, played by Vanessa Hudgens, escapes Robert Hansen, played by John Cusack, after he raped and nearly killed her.  The police do not help her. Jack Halcombe, played by Nicolas Cage, figures out that her case is tied to a series of missing person cases.  Hansen is taking women, raping them, and then flying them to the middle of nowhere and hunting them with a high-powered rifle game. Halcombe must find a way to bring Hansen to justice before he can kill again. 

The acting for The Frozen Ground is what makes it stand out.  Vanessa Hudgens gives a decent look at her vulnerable side.  Nicolas Cage gives us a lite-version of his performance from 8mm; fun and believable.  The person that really is amazing is John Cusack who is chilling as Hansen.  He is creepy and plays a very realistic psychopath.  The rest of the cast also fills their roles nicely making for a very enjoyable movie.

The story is decent, however it is a by-the-book police procedural.  It doesn’t bring a lot new to the genre. There are also some strange filming choices.  Clearly the filmmakers loved Alaska because there are tons of establishing shots of landscapes.  

Then there are odd scenes added like a shot of Vanessa Hudgens starring at a moose that walks close to her.  At one point I wondered if it just wandered into the shot in mid-town Anchorage and they decided to keep it in the movie.

The Frozen Ground is an interesting movie.  If you are fan of true crime or thrillers it is worth catching. The movie is certainly creepy and has a cold vibe.  If you have been or are from Alaska it is worth seeing since many of the locations are ones you will be familiar with.  I recommend it to anyone wanting to see something a bit different and see Cusack and Hudgens playing a role that is different from their normal roles.

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