Tag Archives: reviews

Frozen: A Scary & Innovative Horror Flick

Go see this movie.

Watch the trailer for Frozen, and then check out the official site.

I had the pleasure of meeting the writer & director, Adam Green, this past weekend. My friend Robert and he are old buddies from college who just reconnected. Adam invited us to go to a screening in Santa Monica on Saturday after which there was a meet & greet with the cast & crew. After that we went out for drinks and I had a really good time. Ahhh, schmoozing, the second-oldest profession.

So, not only do I like the guy and want to see his movie succeed, but I genuinely thought the movie was a good time and I want to get more people out there to see it!

It’s an independently produced horror movie, which already stacks the odds against it. It is also an original production, not a remake, which further hardens the sell. It seems most horror fans out there cry for new original stories over remakes, but when it comes time to show their support, movies like Frozen get overlooked. This is sad.

I am a huge horror fan, and I am one of those people who is disappointed with the glut of remakes out there. So I am taking some of my time to get the word out there about Frozen because we need more movies like it!

It was an intense flick that had me gripping the edge of my seat for most of the movie. It grabbed me and didn’t let go, had me cringing and going “OHHHHHH” at some of the gory scenes. At a few moments I was so uncomfortable that I had to disengage by looking away or pretending I was in a happy place. To me, that is a sign of a good movie. It affected me. It wasn’t hum-drum, boring, or predictable. It still had a few of those campy, horror movie moments and I think that is where its charm is. If a horror movie can be charming, that is.

The acting was really good, and I think that Adam’s directing style had a lot to do with this. The entire movie was shot “practically” which means “on location”. There was no green-screen, no studio, no tricks. It was all filmed outdoors, on a ski slope, with the actors IN the gondola.

During the meet & greet they said that the actors had to be up on the gondola for six hours at a time. The filming was done on a ski resort in Utah and the lift was so long that to get off they had to ride all the way to the top of the mountain and all the way down, which took over an hour. So they had to limit the amount of interruptions in order to maximize filming time.

All the scenes in which it is snowing outside are real. When you can no longer see the actors’ breath, that’s because they are running out of body heat. That seems brutal to have endured that during filming for the actors, but I don’t feel too bad for them. THIS IS HORROR!

I felt like some of the scenarios were a little over-the-top, but I am ok with it. Isn’t that the point of a good horror film? Personally, I don’t want too much realism. I want fear, death, blood, and other delicious things that would probably never happen in real life. I definitely wouldn’t enjoy seeing people die in real life, I promise.

If you’re in for a good thrill, check your local movie listings and check out Frozen. I mean, come on, being that the majority of the Northeastern U.S. is under feet of snow & ice right now, how appropriate is this film?

VERY.

District 9 is the Best Sci-Fi Flick I’ve Ever Seen

See title.

District 9 is the first sci-fi movie I’ve seen in recent memory that wasn’t a (multi-)hundred-million dollar money shot.  I’m looking at you Transformers 2!  Strangely if you didn’t know that the film was produced on a meager $30M USD budget, you wouldn’t know.  It’s that good.  From start to finish the polish never wears off, but that’s just the thing:  It’s not really polished at all.   I mean the effects look superb but the gritty, realistic style remains consistent throughout the duration of the film.

First of all, the relationship between the humans and the prawns (what they call the aliens) really draws you in.  The pain and sympathy I felt for the prawns was tangible.  I really felt bad for them.  There was an obvious commentary about Apartheid equating the prawns to the native Africans that really is very thinly veiled.  Set in the slums of Johannesburg where the prawns have been isolated, it doesn’t take much effort to imagine how many millions of native African people are actually living like that today.

One of the biggest pieces of imagery on that tip was at the gates to District 9 itself.  At base the gates are two large statues of a human and a prawn holding hands with their arms raised in an arch over the entrance.  Across the bottom of the gates is a motto that says “District 9:  Paving the Way to Unity”.   Oh the irony!  Get it?  Because the aliens are being oppressed?  Oh nevermind…

If you are close enough to see this, you are fucked.

If you are close enough to see this, you are fucked.

And then there was the ALIEN WEAPONRY.  Holy shit, y’all.  I think the best weapon was probably the arc gun which basically shot a lightning bolt which upon hitting the target made the target explode like a hot dog in a microwave.  There were missiles and machine-gun style weapons, some sort of sonic blast gun and I think even some lasers (pew pew), but it was all about the arc gun, dude.  Seriously.  I giggled like a school girl whenever someone on-screen was vaporized into pink mist or a burst of guts.  It was just so awesome.

The aliens are being oppressed so that we can get at their weapons.  The catch being that the weapons are bio-activated by their DNA, so we humans can’t use them.  It gets interesting when the main character (Wikus) encounters some black goo (there’s more to it, but I don’t want to ruin it) that slowly starts turning him into a prawn.  This allows him to use the alien weapons and thereby makes him the target of the powers that be and also our unsuspecting human/alien hybrid hero.  See the twist developing there?

If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading… NOW.  I have some questions and observations that you might consider to be spoilers:

  • WTF is the black fluid?  It’s clearly used as a fuel, but it also happens to modify your DNA to turn you into a prawn?  I’m sure glad gasoline doesn’t have that side effect.
  • Does it affect all DNA or just so happens to affect humans in this way?
  • Those questions, and the fact that the prawn hero, Christopher, insists on returning in three years to “fix” Wikus in the scene where he is returning to the mothership are clearly setting us up for a sequel.
  • The movie closes with Wikus having fulling transmuted into a prawn.  Will we see him again?  Will he regain his humanity as promised by Christopher?  Will there be more exploding guts?  I fuckin’ hope so, bitches!
All in all, what an awesome flick!  I have been gushing about it for days now.  It was non-stop excitement, awe, disgust, horror, sorrow, and mostly fun.  Sadly, no sideboob, but that’s ok.

Based on the fact that the movie made over $37M USD in its opening weekend, I have a strong feeling we’ll be paying a visit to District 10 sooner than later.