There are certain films that, as much as I enjoyed them on the first watch and had every intention of watching them again at some point, I never did. This is one of them.
Before Frozen (2013) and all of that irritatingly catchy “Let it Go” business there was:
The first decade of the naughties produced some decent movies that sadly fell under the radar for various reasons. I think this is one of them.
If you haven’t seen this film, it’s an adventure/survival/drama/thriller starring Shawn Ashmore (X-Men 2), Emma Bell (Final Destination 5) and Kevin Zegers (2004 Dawn of the Dead remake) among others.
This is what it’s about:
As a winter storm approaches, three friends become stranded on a chairlift high above the ground after a ski resort closes for the night.
I’ve said before, I’m a bit of a sucker for these minimalist survival thrillers and this is no exception.
It came out around the same time as films like Buried and 127 Hours, with others such as The Grey and All Is Lost following over the next couple of years.
I don’t know why I like these kinds of movies so much. I just love the whole “Man vs Nature” scenario and the idea that a person will go to extreme lengths to survive in a particular situation.
This is a really good and underrated movie that falls into that genre.
It has good performances (from Emma Bell in particular), a simple but effective premise, and despite the fact that there are only three people on screen for the majority of the movie, it keeps you gripped right up until the end.
If you’ve ever been cold for any length of time you’ll understand how utterly miserable it is.
My best friend and I got cut off by the tide some years back and were forced to sit on the side of a cliff for eight hours in the winter until such time as the tide went out and we could make our way home via the beach. Those hours we sat there huddled together in the dark were some of the coldest and desperate I’ve ever experienced. All we could think about was getting home and getting warm and luckily we did. It wasn’t a good experience.
This film really gets across the characters’ desperation, helplessness and hopelessness. It also explores the emotions that come with trauma and grief like anger, blame and regret.
It has some dramatic moments as well as some cringey “I can’t look” moments but all are within the realms of possibility given the desperate situation they find themselves in.
Ironically, nowadays we’d just pull out our smartphones and call for help (but not before snapping a selfie and posting it on social media). In 2010 though (in this film at least) not everyone had smartphones.
If you like a good suspense-filled survival thriller where people are in peril and make desperate and not so rational decisions, I recommend this movie. It might even make you think twice about going on a ski lift again.
P.S. Look out for Kane Hodder (Jason Vorhees) as the snow plough driver.
Seen it? Let me know below.