The Frozen Ground in a crime thriller that offers some good tension and an interesting case.
In Alaska, 1983, Cindy, a young prostitute narrowly escapes the clutches of a client who attempts to kill her. Seeing similarities between her experience and a number of missing girls, State Trooper Jack Halcombe starts to track the serial killer, but he needs Cindy’s help…
The fact that The Frozen Ground is based on a real case in slightly at odds with the style of the film. The tense finale does seem a bit far-fetched. This is followed by images of the real victims before the end credits. It is unclear what purpose this serves.
As a thriller in its own right, The Frozen Ground has the necessary intrigue, pacing and tension to make it an entertaining watch. The story revolves around how the authorities catch the serial killer; his identity is never under any doubt.
Scott Walker’s film is sufficiently engaging. The characters are not given much that depth. They really function as vessels for the narrative. Some of their actions appear frustrating; it is unclear how much of the film is based on actual accounts. Likewise, certain elements are heightened; there is no way those involved in the case could have known all the details as depicted in The Frozen Ground.
The cinematography captures the vastness of the Alaskan landscape, even if these shots are brief. In the town scenes, the locales are portrayed with the authentic seediness required. The use of score is overbearing at certain points, although it does add tension in other moments.
John Cusack offers a very convincing performance as Robert Hansen. Nicolas Cage is fine in a role that does not require too much range. Vanessa Hudgens is also decent.
The Frozen Ground is recommended for fans of crime thrillers as it does hold the attention. Nevertheless, its ‘based on true events’ credentials perhaps did not need to be played up in the way it has been.