Monday, March 3, 2014

The Frozen Ground Movie Review

Runtime: 105 minutes
Release Date: August 23, 2013
Rating: R
Director: Scott Walker

Jack Halcombe (Nicholas Cage) is a police detective tasked with bringing down a violent serial killer preying on women in Anchorage, Alaska. Robert Hansen (John Cusack, Identity) is that serial killer he wants to find. After abducting a teenage girl, Cindy, who works as a stripper and prostitute, Hansen makes the mistake of not fighting hard enough when she escapes. Cindy goes directly to the police and agrees to help Halcombe find the man who took her captive.

I am a true crime junky. I've seen hundreds of movies about serial killers, I own every book Ann Rule ever wrote, my tablet is full of true crime books from other authors I bought with my Christmas gift cards, and I considered going to graduate school to study forensic psychology. That said, The Frozen Ground is one of those films that, to quote Peter Griffin, really grinds my gears.

The film attempts to follow the true story, but for some reason, decided to rename Glenn Flothe to Jack Halcombe. Given the stories about Cage, maybe he just didn't like the name because it didn't sound like a superhero. Who knows? It also does a poor job of delving into the actual story. Yes, we hear about Cindy, but we don't really hear about anything else. It almost seems like they just want us to care about one person and not all of his other victims.

And, caring about that one victim is almost impossible when they decided to cast Vanessa Hudgens in the role. Hudgens, who I most recently saw in that awful Spring Breakers movie, is hard to root for. She works as a stripper, does large amounts of drugs, and is just generally not a nice character. I don't want anyone to think that I don't give a crap about some people, but I don't give a crap about Hudgens. She's so unlikeable that I found myself wishing her scenes were shorter.

No one really does a solid job in this flick. I like Nicholas Cage, but this seems like yet another one of those movies that he only took because the script landed on his desk. I don't know how anyone could believe him as a police officer, let alone a detective who cares so much about bringing down a serial killer that he will do anything it takes to stop him.

That brings us to John Cusack. As a woman, I have a crush on Cusack. It started with Say Anything, but flicks like Identity, Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity, and 1408 only helped sustain my crush. Seeing him in The Frozen Ground made me wonder what the heck he was thinking. Though he could portray a serial killer with one arm tied behind his back, he did a poor job in this one. Putting a pair of glasses on a guy won't make him look like a killer.

All in all, I wish that I had skipped The Frozen Ground. I grabbed it one night from the video store and only paid a buck something to rent it, but I wish I had just skipped it and watched Say Anything instead.

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