The Frozen Ground
The plot is a sombre one: Scott Walker’s Alaskan crime thriller, The Frozen Ground, is based on true events surrounding a series of murders in the early 1980s. Starring the established names of Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, this chilling film strikes a stark note into the hearts of the audience.
Robert Hansen was originally described by the police as an “upstanding citizen”. It took Alaska State Trooper, Jack Halcombe, to follow his intuition with the help of one “lucky” survivor, and attempt to bring the serial murderer to justice.
Following a very routine crime-thriller set-up, Scott Walker has played it safe with his second directorial debut.
Two weeks away from a career move, Jack (Cage) is assigned a case that looks set to scupper his plans. At the potential cost of his family – wife, Allie (Radha Mitchell, Silent Hill) and daughter – Jack sets off on a man-hunt with the help of vulnerable prostitute, Cindy (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical). Releasing Hudgens from her School days, The Frozen Ground certainly embodies the sincerity and realism that child actors of her previous genre seek. As the exposed victim of predator Hansen, Hudgens does a good job alongside Cage, although her helpfulness is sporadic and at times frustrating.
The snowy, Alaskan backdrop provides the perfect setting for Walker’s film: the sense of remoteness and isolation (even in a packed strip joint) is highlighted through the intensity of the situation, the thrill of the chase, and the powerlessness emulated by Hudgens.
The question of whether the film’s dedication to the real victims of Hansen does them justice is down to Cusack’s execution portraying the sadistic hunter-killer. Cool, calm and collected tends to describe the scariest of villains (think Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs), and Cussack’s portrayal of Hansen is dead right, with the eerie similarity to Dr. Hannibal really promoting shivers down the spine.
The size of this film doesn’t feel like it merits the big screen, and although the talent and quality of acting are fairly spot on (with the exception of the questionable appearance of Cindy’s pimp, played by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), the audience probably wouldn’t miss much by waiting for the DVD.
The Frozen Ground is released in UK cinemas on 19th July 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Frozen Ground here: