The Frozen Ground (15)
Directed by: Scott Walker
Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens
Running time: 105 min
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.
Alaska. 1983. Prostitute Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens) informs the police that she was raped, tortured and threatened with death before making her escape. The description she provides to the police fit a man that is highly respected in the community: family and businessman Robert Hansen (John Cusack).
With numerous unsolved disappearances dating back over 10 years, Trooper Sgt. Jack Halcombe (Nicholas Cage) begins to believe Cindy’s story and tries to unravel the pieces in this torturous plot. But with a District Attorney refusing to issue a warrant without physical evidence, Jack must use all of his wits and determination to bring this serial killer to justice before more innocent lives are lost.
The Frozen Ground is an extremely tense thriller, made all the more poignant as it was based on actual events. Director Scott Walker maintains a taught and frantic pace throughout the film’s running time. The script is very tight, and thankfully does not show on-screen the full extent of the horrors that the victims encountered. However, the implications and extrapolations revealed throughout will leave the viewer in no doubt as to the atrocities Robert Hansen committed.
The acting in this grisly, and at times, hard going drama, is truly superb. Nicholas Cage gives one of his finest performances as the dogged detective trying to stop a murderous madman. His performance is complimented by Vanessa Hudgens as the victim who survived; proving that she can indeed deliver a thrilling performance as opposed to her most recent comedic roles.
However, the star performance is John Cusack’s portrayal of alleged serial killer Robert Hansen. From his under-portrayal of a sinister and calculating potential murderer to the doting father and respected businessman, John Cusack really does install fear and dread with a mere glance.
The Frozen Ground, whilst not as gruesome or graphic as other true story serial killer films, is nonetheless more sinister for what it does not show on screen. The script and performances speak for themselves in one of the saddest chapters in Alaska’s history.
4 out of 5 Nerds