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If you have no head for heights, a fear of falling and hate being cold and wet then stay away from Frozen, for director Adam Green‘s snowbound survival thriller is a relentless exercise in sheer terror and probably the most frightening thing I have seen in years.

The story is simple: three college friends bribe their way onto a ski resort for some white powder fun. But then they make the idiotic decision to get in one last run just as the resort is closing. They pay for their stupid mistake by getting stranded on the chair lift 100-feet from the ground.

Now they must find a way down. But with the resort not due to open for another five days and having no food or proper protection against the elements, how will they survive if they can’t? I won’t spoil what happens next, but safe to say it’s truly terrifying and involves some very difficult decision-making with tragic results that will have you covering your eyes and hiding under your cinema seat.

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The three leads (X-Men actor Shawn Ashmore, Transamerica star Kevin Zegers – who looks like John Barrowman’s kid brother – and Emma Bell, who has just signed to join AMC’s The Walking Dead) give authentic, moving performances and their back story is totally believable; the cinematography is gorgeous, showing the Utah mountains in all its natural though unforgiving beauty; and Green’s direction is suspenseful and well conceived.

Frozen really does live up to the hype that it does for skiing what Jaws did for swimming. Ski and snowboard fans may pick holes in the set-up; but this is not what we are here for. Green wants to scare the pants out of his viewers and I think he succeeds.

I, for one, was squirming in my seat trying to figure out how our tragic trio could get out of their predicament, but got so frustrated as I couldn’t see any solution other than to jump. I certainly won’t be taking up skiing anytime soon. And don’t remind me of the frostbite…

On general release from 24th September.

[swf]http://uk.player.filmtrailer.com/v3.1/&mid=5069&channel_user_id=441100180-1&repeat=1&volume=0[/swf]

To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.