Verdict: 4 / 5
17 women murdered, 30 women abducted and raped, 461 years plus life, 17 grave sites and the longest search in Alaskan history. It sounds like a crime that could have been committed by many, but actually it is just one case.
The Frozen Ground is based on the real life man hunt for a serial killer called Robert Hansen. In the 1980’s in Alaska, Hansen stalked and murdered between 17 and 21 young women, kidnapping them, raping them and then flying them out to a remote Alaskan wilderness where he shot them and buried them. Only 17 grave sites were found and only a very few lived to tell the tale.
This retelling of these horrific events focuses on Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens), one of the lucky ones that was able to escape. With much persuading she assists lead investigator, Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) to crack the case and convict Robert Hansen (John Cusack).
There are some really strong performances in this film. Hudgens cracks that singing teenager stereotype with her moving perfomance as the vulnerable heroine who struggles back and forth between real life and being the link that fits this heinous crime together. Nicolas Cage comes back after a number of years with a very strong performance as the fatherly and fiercely protective detective. John Cusack is simply terrifiying. There is another character worth mentioning that adds a huge dynamic to this narrative: the weather. Tettering on the verge of winter as Halcombe starts to piece the puzzle together and then enclosing on them as the case comes to it’s climax. It was purposeful, planned and incredibly effective, almost as if mother nature was sick of this crime festering under the soil.
This is a striking first feature film from Scott Walker which had varied reviews from all who saw it, for the most part is was well received but more by the audience than the critics. Everyone deserves their own opinion on a film and this one deserves a watch, even if it just to formulate an opinion.