[retro review 1 – I loved this movie so much I watched it twice in one day. I’ve also ordered the Blu Ray and watched it with director’s comments. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Frozen, IMO]
I give this movie 5 Top hats because, like my legend indicates, this has made my life more enjoyable. This isn’t a review for a newspaper or magazine where I have to weigh the entire library of movies against each other and rate them alike, to get my paycheck. I really, really liked this movie, even though (especially since) there were about 20 of the most nerve wracking minutes I have spent in a long time in this thing. This is what I consider a true “horror” movie, it’s not slasher-horror, zombie-horror, T&A horror, man eating fish horror, monster horror, etc; this is true-up in your face real life this can happen to you horror that had my at my nerve’s ends TWICE. The premise sounds kind of iffy, “Three skiers are trapped on the top of a mountain when the ski resort shuts down” but they really delivered with good, believable-in-peril actors, VERY good eye to details and effects, and, yes, even a good movie score that actually help create more tension than to bring the scenes down.
In a two sentence review: Three skiers are trapped in a ski lift at the top of the mountain when the resort shuts down for a week, a winter storm sleets down on them and they struggle to find a way to get out of the lift and survive, the cables are razor sharp, there are wolves below them, and no one will be back for seven days – do they make it? The actors do a great job delivering their role as terrified, in pain and forsaken, the director did an awesome job making a movie set in and around a ski lift harrowing, the DP did an excellent job with unusual camera angles, the effects department was awesome with what bloodiness comes with different stages of frostbites (and wolves) and the overall score added to the sense of peril throughout the thing, and there were even two moments when I had to turn away or cover my eyes – which is saying something.
5 Top Hats
Now here’s some more getting into it, with a lot of spoilers.
So we have the intro, blah, blah, blah get to know the two guys and the tag-along girlfriend (who is amazing in this thing by the way). They spend too much time watching her fall down on her snowboard and convince the ski lift operator to give them one more shot down the mountain as night falls, “to get the most for their money”. He agrees, they head up, there’s some ski staff finagling and then they’re stuck, up the mountain, seemingly about 200 feet from the ground, and all the lights turn off. Queue: Terrified. Queue: Hailstorm.
Immediately this set me off on what we would do to survive this mess. The first thing I think about is jump. Well – one of them does to horrible consequences. The ‘first person point of view” of him landing and both of his legs breaking made me turn away. The actor, unlike many, many, many who have had to deal with two broken legs, actually made me believe he was in agony, wailing and crying – it made me very sad for him. Queue: Wolves have got the scent of his blood. Queue: Panic.
Second idea: climb up the sleet covered metal of the ski lift to the cable above and shimmy down to the pole below them with a ladder. The tendons in the cable cut through your gloves in seconds and down below you, the wolf pack is gathering around your paralyzed best friend. Queue: OMG Jesus Christ my heart rate is up. He heads back to the lift to do everything he can to keep the girlfriend from seeing what happens below. She did great – it was literally heart wrenching watching them NOT watch their friend get torn to pieces (which is not shown on screen).
Eventually they survive the night and we endure some boring moments of dialogue (I assume to give the viewer a break from everything that just happened) before they try the cable again. This scene is not at all easy to watch, if you’re like me and have developed a fear of heights, as he scrambles, his hands tearing up and the jostling of the cable is causing a ski lift bolt to come loose. Oh yeah, and the wolves are back to see what the commotion is all about, and to see if there’s more dinner to scavenge. Eventually he makes it down the pole ladder, heads off bleeding down the mountain, sitting on the snow board, wolves thoroughly in tow.
In the third act she is still stuck up there, and decides to try and jump for it. Her jostling gives the bolt the final release of torque it needed and they both fall to the ground. She makes it out alive, heads down the mountain, runs across the torn remains of her other friend and is eventually saved.
This movie was the real deal. It had me gritting my teeth a lot and I can’t quit thinking about it, which, to me, makes it a five top hatter. That shot, in the movie poster doesn’t exactly happen in the movie itself, but it gives you a good idea of what you’re up for in this thing. I want to watch it again, even though I just watched it, but I don’t think I can, yet.
Had to add this display from my phone: