Summary: An Alaskan State Trooper, Jack, teams up wit a young girl, Cindy, to track down a murder who's primary targets seem to be prostitutes. Robert Hansen seems to somehow keep getting away with it though. If Jack can protect Cindy not only from Robert, but herself he has a primary witness that can identify Robert. Robert though knows that Cindy is alive and able to pen him for the murders though so he is on the hunt for her. The trust issues that Cindy has may cause her to keep Jack at bay and return to her old dangerous ways before he can help her escape.
Acting: Nicholas Cage hasn't had many movies in the past year that are some that showcase his acting that well. Cage is Jack, and while it is one of his better roles, it also does fall into a lot of the stereotypes he as set himself in of late. He has that intense glare, he looks like he is about to lose it all the time, etc. John Cusack seems to feel he needs to be a bad guy in his recent movies. He played this insane odd guy in The Paperboy and then plays someone similar again in The Frozen Ground as Robert. Cusack can become creepy, but he also feels like Cusack just trying to be creepy. There is just something about him that takes himself too seriously for it. Another cast member that you may write off, but could actually say is the strongest is Vanessa Hudgens as Cindy. While Hudgens does seem to be trying to force her way out of the Disney mold, this role isn't too bad, and she doesn't come off near as annoying in this movie. She even gets us to sympathizing for Cindy.
Filming: Scott Walker isn't the most refined of directors. The camera is very shaky throughout, and the whole movie just feels unfocused in what it is trying to shoot. Other than that I think for this being a movie I never heard of being released in theaters that it is very well shot and it looks to be of good quality. The vibe works for the movie because it makes Alaska looks as bleak as you can imagine, which fits the tone of the movie.
Plot: The fact that this is based on a true story is what makes it interesting. I think had this just been a plot based on fiction it would have lost a lot of the touch of being interesting. It almost feels like any other serial killer thriller otherwise. I'm not even quite certain why Walker chose this story to hone in on. It seems like it could have significance, and that Cindy has a great story of being saved from the life she lived, but we never get that by the end of the movie. It's just missing something other than be depressing to make that real impact.
The Frozen Ground is one of the better smaller releases this year. It seems that some high profile actors are having to get some lower budget roles, and hopefully this role will give Hudgens some more potential than she has shown in other movies. At the beginning I wasn't convinced she could act, but by the end I felt she got into the role.
Rating 6 of 10.