Monday 18 October 2010


Here's another entry into the Claustrocore movement.
Watch the trailer and read my review, after the jump...

Three slightly obnoxious skiers (Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore and Emma Bell) hitch a ride on a ski-lift and manage to piss off the lift operator along the way. Testing his patience, they plead for one more go on the slopes, boarding the lift as the machinery is being closed down. After passing on his duties to visit the bathroom, the three skiers find themselves stuck on the lift, suspended in mid air like an icicle ready to fall. The lodge is closed from Monday until Friday, so the three of them face being stuck there for five days. There's no chance they can survive that long, so try whatever they can to raise the alarm and get help.

It's a situation borrowed straight from Open Water and Adrift. Getting trapped on a ski lift is not an occurence you'd expect to happen, but perhaps just might in your worst nightmare. Despite being out in the open, it's an incredibly isolated place to be. It's a premise that you could write on the back of a napkin, but sometimes films attacking the basic fears are the most effective. 

Their first attempt at escape doesn't go too well, ending up with broken limbs for one of them. Bathroom breaks aren't going to be easy either. To add to their troubles, all the shouting they've been doing and brought them to the attention of a pack of hungry wolves, circling them like vultures on the ground. They're pretty much screwed whatever they do.

The cold starts to effect their physical and mental well being, and the onslaught of frostbite is not a nice thing to watch. The tension rises as the temperature drops, and any attempts at escape are thwarted by the elements. There is a sense of camaraderie growing as the survivors become resigned to their fate, and the camera is kept close enough to make you feel like you're hanging up there with them.

It's a well directed genre piece by Adam Green, director of Hatchet and Spiral. I wasn't a fan of Spiral, but he's still a young director who's showing some growing maturity at his approach to crafting horror. If he can make such effective use of a minimal concept like this again, I look forward to what he makes next.

The purpose of the film, rather like Open Water, is less about highlighting the lack of safety features on holiday destinations, and more about making you think twice before attempting to enjoy yourself at anything. It's a tense situation where the feeling of cold becomes genuinely palpable, and I'm never going skiing again without a spare pair of gloves, a loud hailer and a parachute.


1 comment:

  1. Currently watching this. A little gruesome, particularly the hand frozen to the safety bar, ugh. But its not the worst I've ever seen. I agree with your rating.