Most ski lifts are frankly rickety pieces of shit. They occasionally stop without warning, forcing people to wait in terror while a dude making minimum wage attempts to fix whatever part of the archaic belt and pulley system happens to be fucked up. Many of us in this post X-Games world have experienced this, but the results are usually more awkward and annoying than truly horrifying.
Frozen presents a unique spin on the phenomenon, as three young people are stuck on a ski lift because they were left behind after the ski resort was closed down, and not because the lift is shitty and archaic (although it is). Being stuck ANYWHERE after it closes must be scary as balls. Imagine being locked in a mall after closing and unable to escape. Even though there’s the promise of awesome fun, like being able to browse the Sharper Image store without being pressured by slimebag salesmen, or a free run at any unholy Cinnabon of your choice (maybe the Satanbon, or the 7 lb. Chernobylbon), you’re probably going to be scared shitless, trapped within such a hopeless consumer environ.
The film combines these two fears to create a smart horror gimmick. A couple of times a year, there’s a surprise hit horror movie that introduces a new slant on familiar material. You know, like “remember Saw? Well, this is just like Saw, except IT TAKES PLACE AT A CLOWN COLLEGE!” Or, “remember Scream? This is just like Scream EXCEPT IT TAKES PLACE AT A SCHOOL FOR ELVIS IMPERSONATORS!!!”. You get the idea. The best thing I can say about Frozen, the occasional wart notwithstanding, is that the combination of gimmicks presented are based in things that are actually frightening, as opposed to merely things that are gimmicky, if you follow.
For me personally, I think I would invite such gross negligence against my persons by a ski resort. After all, most of them are swimming in privileged white cash, like a Scrooge McDuck, and such a punitive oversight would lead to a multi-million dollar settlement and a ticket on the gravy train, where the stewardesses massage your feet for free. Of course, I would have to survive this endeavor, but, unlike the three young people featured in the film, I have seen the movie Tango and Cash. Therefore, I know to immediately take my belt off, flex my pecs a bit (for the ladies), and use the belt to slide down the cable to safety.
Hopefully this scene from Tango and Cash is realistic in it’s portrayal of belt and cable physics. Otherwise, I’m pretty much fucked, what with the freezing cold, and oncoming snow flurries, and the height between the lift and the ground, not to mention the supreme isolation. One character decides to jump down to safety, but unwisely tries to land on both legs, snapping them like twigs. Remember kids, if you have to fall from a high distance, use your shoulder to break the fall and try to roll into it. You’ll probably shatter your arm, but you can at least walk away to safety. There are also some wolves that pop in and start eating someone, which I find a bit unbelievable (a lupus ex machina, perhaps), but maybe these are really smart wolves that know that if they hang around a ski resort long enough, some tasty human will break a leg, and a 200 lb. dinner will, in effect, be served.
If all of this sounds grim, that is, three people hanging above a sisyphean mountain, unable to so much as roll a boulder as they rot through with frostbite, there is some actual levity to be had. Granted, most of the “funny” dialogue is not very funny, perhaps a realistic portrait of young people attempting to divert attention from the hopelessness of their situation with smart alecky asides. However, there is one genuinely funny joke uttered by a character, namely, “what did the 14 year old New Hampshire girl say to her dad when she lost virginity? Get off me, you’re crushing my Malboros.” Every great joke has a serious lesson, and the lesson here is…kids, please, don’t smoke. You’ll be ever consumed by tar and nicotine, to the point where you won’t even notice when your dad is raping you. Also, you’ll get cancer and die, and dying of cancer is even sadder than being forced to push a big rock up a mountain. At least with the latter you’re getting some exercise and fresh air.