Synopsis: An Alaska State Trooper partners with a young woman who escaped the clutches of serial killer Robert Hansen to bring the murderer to justice. Based on actual events.
Ok, so here’s the thing; I am about to write a few hundred words on why I didn’t like The Frozen Ground. In fact it’s not even that I didn’t like it, I was just bored numb by it and struggled to form an opinion outside of “meh” about it. But here’s the rub. I knew when I clicked play on Netflix that this was a post 2006 Nic Cage thriller. I knew what I was getting. So complaining about it after the fact is like choosing to pour bleach in your eyes and then complaining that it stings. Of course it does, you poured a highly corrosive substance into a delicate organic area.
All that aside, knowing what you’re getting doesn’t make this limp thriller any less catatonic. Set in early 1980’s Alaska, The Frozen Ground is a highly by the numbers cat and mouse thriller that offers little that hundreds of thrillers before it have. Apparently “based on actual events”, which can I say is something that seriously annoys me. Not to get on too much of a tangent but most things are based in some form of reality. Not every thriller or chiller has to tell me that the person who wrote it was inspired by actual events. Unless it’s historically or biographically important to make a disclaimer of that nature then please feel free to stop. It in no way heightens the experience of watching your movie.
Anyway…where was I? Oh yeah, writing about anything other than this film. Like a mash up of Insomnia and a heap of early 90’s late 00’s thrillers The Frozen Ground focuses on Nic Cage’s “two weeks from retirement and I catch this case” cop who finds himself hunting John Cusack’s everyman serial killer who has a thing for prostitutes. When one gets away (Vanessa Hudgens) she agrees reluctantly to help Cage track him. The hunter has very boringly and predictably become the hunted.
Ultimately this film landed somewhere right about where I expected it would given the cast and plot. My real disappointment though sits less with Cage, who we all know and love for his sporadic quality output, but more with Cusack. There was a time when he was always the best thing about a movie, even a bad one. Nowadays he just seems to have gotten tired and is collecting paycheques. I want High Fidelity Cusack. I want Con Air Cusack. Fuck, I definitely want Grosse Point Blank Cusack. I can definitely do without current Cusack.
Conclusion: Predictable, dull and no better than a host of other thrillers available out in the world. If you want a truly well made cat and mouse story set against the harsh backdrop of Alaska then go watch Christopher Nolan’s underrated sophomore Insomnia.
Cast: Nic Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens, Dean Norris