The Frozen Ground (2013) - 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.
Nicolas Cage - Jack Halcombe
Vanessa Hudgens - Cindy Paulson
Dean Norris - Sgt. Lyle Haugsven
John Cusack - Robert Hansen
Radha Mitchell - Allie Halcombe
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe - Chelle Ringell
50 Cent - Pimp Clate Johnson
Set in 1983 Alaska, The Frozen Ground is based on a gruesome true story of the hunt for serial killer Robert Hansen. Hansen stalked and murdered between 17 and 21 young women, kidnapping them and taking them out to the Alaskan wilderness where he shot and buried them. In this movie, Detective Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) is preparing to leave Anchorage with his wife Allie (Radha Mitchell) and children, when he receives a call that the body of a young woman has been found in the icy wilderness. The autopsy results are harrowing and suggest possible links with other missing women.
Soon after this discovery, Jack receives a file on Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens), a 17-year-old prostitute, who claims that she escaped from the clutches of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), who held her hostage and raped her.
Convinced that Hansen is a dangerous serial killer, Jack works tirelessly to build a case against his prime suspect aided by Sergeant Lyle Haugsven (Dean Norris).
The plot gathers a slow, steady momentum, building to the inevitable final showdown between Jack and his cunning adversary. The movie leaves no ambiguity as to Hansen’s character pretty early in the proceedings. He’s shown to be a predator, who behind a façade of domestic bliss and soft-spoken demeanour hides a vile streak of violence.
Nicolas Cage (with normal hair and everything!) has not been this good in a long time, and John Cusack is as cold as ice and perfectly suited to his creepy role. Hudgens on the other hand is the weak link for me. She’s not bad, just ineffectual. I struggled to connect to her character as much as I should have after what she had been through. She looks good though! I’m a big fan of Radha Mitchell but she was barely used here, and for his fans out there Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson pops up a couple of times and doesn’t look out-of-place.
With a rumoured $27 million dollar budget, the movie certainly looks beautiful. Lots of aerial and mountain range shots, snowy city streets and just the all round atmosphere was done so well. Much different to the style and standard we’ve seen from Cage’s recent straight to home-video efforts. Maybe this will spark a mini revival for him, he still commands the screen when he gets a role he can sink his teeth into.
The Frozen Ground doesn’t shy away from showing the red stuff. Cusack’s character loves to torture and hunt these girls, and whilst not graphic in the same way a lot of movies I review are, there are a few scenes here the more squeamish among you may not enjoy.
It’s certainly a slow burn and writer-director Scott Walker is in no hurry to draw his debut feature to a nail-biting conclusion. The Frozen Ground is a solid genre piece, which features all the usual clichés such as the grizzled cop close to retirement, the working girl who has been abused by the system and the family man with a sadistic streak, but still delivers and is well worthy of your time.
In this movie, Nicolas Cage plays the law enforcement officer that is trying to apprehend John Cusack. In Con Air, the roles were reversed; Cusack was trying to apprehend Cage.