Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: The Frozen Ground


This is another movie I'd never heard of until I came across it on Netflix. It's a grim, fact-based police procedural set in Alaska about a State Trooper's search for a serial killer. Nicolas Cage is pretty restrained as the dogged investigator, John Cusack is appropriately creepy as the supposedly respectable businessman who's really a mass murderer, and Vanessa Hudgens, a long way from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, seems to be channeling Mila Kunis from eight or ten years ago as a teenage prostitute/stripper who escapes from the killer. An impressively hulking actor named Brad William Henke contributes a nice bit as a hired killer. (He was in the second season of JUSTIFIED as one of the Bennett brothers.) THE FROZEN GROUND is a well-made movie, a little slow but with some nice bursts of tension and action. It's somewhat depressing because of the subject matter but worth watching.

5 comments:

Bill Crider said...

You can't go wrong with a Nic Cage movie!

Anonymous said...

What about THE WICKER MAN, Bill? SEASON OF THE WITCH?

Anyway, we don't want a "restrained" Cage, we want the real thing,


Jeff M.

James Reasoner said...

I actually liked SEASON OF THE WITCH quite a bit. Didn't care much for THE WICKER MAN, though, either version.

Anonymous said...

This is a decent but grim movie. Particularly because it pulls no punches in that Cusack (Hansen) is no Hannibal Lector, i.e. cultured, charming (when not eating someone!), etc. but Hansen is a sturring self loathing social misfit who takes out his frustrations on people who ironically he considers subhuman (i.e. street walkers, and strippers) particularly, in the movie at least, the Hudgens character. In case a viewer of "The Frozen Ground" is left unsatisfied with the necessary compression of events, composite characters, etc. that are necessary to produce a movie of less than two hours in length "based on a true story", and want to learn more about the real life serial killer Hansen and the case that inspired the movie one could do worse then read "Fair Game" (http://tinyurl.com/mqssp5z) by Bernard DuClos that was recently republished. Reading it as a companion to the movie will help the viewer of "The Frozen Ground" realize the liberties that were inevitably taken to make it suitable for the silver screen as well as understand elements of Hansen's life and killing spree that the picture did not have time to delve into such as more of Hansen's background (which early on indicated a propensity toward crime) and the backstory of the whole oil pipeline boom that produced the mafia controlled prostitution/strip bar scene that Hudgen's character is entangled in.

James Reasoner said...

Thanks for this background!