Frost begins with a reunion between Grant (Vernon Wells, Thor: God of Thunder, Commando) and Abbey (Devanny Pinn, Chase, Death Count) the daughter he hasn’t spoken to in five years. She’s about to become a mother and wants her child to be able to have a relationship with its grandfather. After a rather guarded start, they find common ground over memories of her late mother and start bonding.
The next day they decide to further revisit the old days with a father-daughter fishing trip. This is where the film shifts from a domestic drama to a survival thriller as their car skids off the road. Grant is able to get free but Abbey is trapped in her seat. With a severe snowstorm on the way, Grant has no choice but to leave her and try to find help.
Working from a story by James Cullen Bressack (Tales from the Other Side, Hate Crime), writer Robert Thompson (Escape from Ensenada, Crossbreed) and director Brandon Slagle (Attack of the Unknown, Area 51 Confidential) have created the perfect situation for a low budget thriller. Most of Frost takes place in the claustrophobic remains of the car with, after Grant goes for help, one character. In some ways, it’s like an even more stripped-down version of Adam Green’s Frozen, pitting a trapped woman against frigid temperatures and other threats from Mother Nature, including wolves.
Devanny Pinn gives a performance that really sells the film. She’s onscreen throughout Frost, much of the time by herself. She really does a good job of projecting fear, desperation and encroaching madness in a part that’s about as far from the more glamorous roles she usually plays as it gets. She gets solid support from Oliver Poser’s (Amityville Karen, Sawed Off) painful looking frostbite effects and cinematographer Kelton Jones (Of the Devil, The Passion of the Christ) who makes the most of Frost’s claustraphic setting. That’s not to slight Vernon Wells. He does a good job in a role that’s against type for him as well. But the film really is a showcase for Pinn’s performance.
The film’s final act takes a very unexpected turn and viewers are going to be sharply divided over it. I won’t spoil it, even though more than one reviewer already has, but it is indeed shocking and I don’t see anyone denying that.
The division will come over whether it’s gratuitous and simply there for shock value or a logical extension of what comes before it. I tend to lean toward the gratuitous side of the argument. While the end isn’t entirely out of left field Frost’s script stops well short of suggesting anything like that is coming. Those expecting a simple survival film will most likely be extremely turned off by it with horror fans more likely to be more receptive.
Beyond that, my complaints about Frost are limited to the characters making the usual stupid choices such as going fishing with the storm approaching, we hear about it almost from the start of the film, and without any emergency supplies in the vehicle. They don’t even have any snacks or water with them for the trip, something that seems unlikely with a pregnant woman involved.
Frost works for the most part and is a tightly wound thriller up until the final act. Where it goes from there will stick in most viewers’ minds. But whether they remember it as a bold move or merely cheap sensationalism is another matter.
Cleopatra Entertainment will release Frost on DVD and Blu-ray as well as Digital platforms on October 11th. There will be a vinyl soundtrack album available as well, featuring tracks from Geoff Downes, Rick Wakeman and Front Line Assembly among others. you can see Cleopatra’s website for details. The soundtrack will also be available as a CD bonus with the Blu-ray. And if you’re looking for more films to chill you, FilmTagger has some suggestions.