The Frozen Ground (2013)

logoDirector: Scott Walker

Writer: Scott Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Vanessa Hudgens, John Cusack, Dean Norris, Gia Mantegna, Robert Forgit, Brad William Henke, Michael McGrady, Katherine LaNasa, Kevin Dunn, Radha Mitchell, Matt Gerald, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Curtis Jackson


Plot: Alaska Trooper Jack Holcombe (Cage) believes Robert Hansen (Cusack) is a serial killer who abducts young girls, tortures and sexually assaults them, then kills them. But Holcombe doesn’t have enough evidence to get a search warrant for Hansen’s premises. Holcombe knows that one victim, Cindy Paulsen (Hudgens), somehow survived, so he decides to seek her help, but he finds that she’s now a junkie with trust issues. Holcombe has to earn her trust; meanwhile, Hansen is still hunting and killing girls.


Verdict: Tense Thriller


Story: Telling the story of serial killer Robert Hansen but focusing more on catching him rather than his crimes, if fact we only see one kill that is very much off camera not glorifying it. That is a good point, we follow how one state trooper finally starts to believe something is worth investigating because Hansen was smart while disposing of the bodies. This story of Cindy and Jack trying to befriend her to find the truth could be made up by the best writers and knowing it is true makes the story even more incredible. The story focuses on Cindy not being able to trust after being shot down by officers, being forced into things by her pimp and tricked by other prostitutes. If it wasn’t based on a true story I would have like to seen more about the killer, but I agree they minimise seeing his good side that everyone thinks he was, was for the better. In the end it is a very well told story that respects the victims instead of glorifying the killer. (8/10)


Actor Review


Nicolas Cage: Jack who is leaving the force in two weeks before this last body turns up, he starts investigating and befriends the only known survivor, while trying to finally get enough evidence to investigate the prime suspect, but this tests his family commitments too. Good performance from Cage who shows he can do serious without adding some over the top action. (8/10)


Vanessa Hudgens: Cindy the prostitute victim who escaped, but no one wants to believe her story until Jack comes along, she has slipped back into her underworld and entering the world of drugs hasn’t help her trust issues which kept getting her in trouble. Good performance from Vanessa showing she really is dumping the child star tag with mature roles. (7/10)


John Cusack: Robert the everyday family man with a darker side, he stalks then kills woman and has been getting away with it for years. Good performance from Cusack showing his much darker side and not using the charm he is known for, (8/10)


Director Review: Scott Walker – Well directing thriller that shows the work the State Troopers put into stopping a serial killer. (8/10)


Biography: Showing more of the victim’s and lead officer’s side to the story we learn how one serial killer was finally stopped. (9/10)

Crime: Looks into the fine technicalities that can stop someone being stopped and how hard people need to search for the final truth. (8/10)

History: Well told story of how the killer was stopped. (9/10)

Thriller: Well built up thriller that keeps you wanting to know what happens next. (8/10)

Settings: Each setting works well for the story. (7/10)

Suggestion: If you are a fan of the genre you will enjoy this, but the more casual fan may find this slow because it is more about the people involved. (Thriller Fans Watch)


Best Part: The final Conviction.

Worst Part: Cindy’s choices get annoying as she makes bad decisions.

Believability: Based on the real victim, officer and killer. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Information about the real killer.


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Tagline: The hunter becomes the hunted.


Overall: Great Thriller That Shows How Hard The Truth Can Be To Find

Rating 80

1408 (2007)

logoDirector: Mikael Hafstrom

Writer: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (Screenplay) Stephen King (Short Story)

Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub, Mary McCormack


Plot: The cynical and sceptical writer Mike Enslin (Cusack) writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel’s evil room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr Gerald Olin (Jackson) objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive.


Verdict: Creepy Hotel Thriller


Story: With the story of a sceptic investigating paranormal events but then ends up stuck in these paranormal events he so very much doesn’t believe in, is a very clichéd story. This has most of this and adds in that he is a writer with a dark past involving loss you know where this is going. Mixing it all together we get the idea of redemption for the mistakes we may have done in life. One weak point of this film is that there are two endings that paint a very different picture of the events that happen in the film, I personally prefer the Director’s Cut as I find it has more answer than the Theatrical Cut. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


John Cusack: Mike Enslin after suffering a personal loss Mike travels around writing about so called haunted hotel and location, bringing out a string of top 10 books looking at his experiences or lack thereof. Mike gets a postcard and against all the advice of the hotel manager he enters the room 1408, were he really gets put to the test. Mike starts off being distant from people, be it fans or his general style of conversation, but soon after the events start happening he changes too quickly for what his character has been through. John does a good job with the role as most of the film is solely around him. (8/10)


Samuel L. Jackson: Gerald Olin the manager of the Dolphin hotel trying to protect Mike from entering the room with all kinds of bribes, he tells the full history of the room but unfortunately lets him stay in the room. Good supporting performance from Jackson rarely seen, he is the dominant persona you would expect to see. (8/10)


Director Review: Mikael Hafstrom – Creates some very good scares and keeps you guessing on what is going on, add in what I think is the better ending you get a very good piece of direction. (8/10)


Horror: Has some solid scares and some you really don’t see coming along with some nicely built up ones. (9/10)

Mystery: You are constantly wondering what is going on, but a lot is explained at the end. (9/10)

Thriller: Keeps you at the edge of your seat just wait to know what happens next. (9/10)

Settings: The hotel room feels very ordinary but once things starting to happen it turns into a nightmare, working very well for the genre. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Strong special effects used throughout. (9/10)

Suggestion: If you are a fan of horror you will enjoy this, if you are a fan of Stephen King you will enjoy this otherwise this one isn’t really for you. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: The vents scene.

Worst Part: The two different endings can confuse when talking about this film with others.

Scariest Scene: Vent scene.

Believability: I give this a one because there are people like Mike you investigate the paranormal, but what happens isn’t believable. (1/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $131,998,242

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Tagline: Based on the terrifying story by Stephen King


Overall: Good Atmospheric Horror

Rating 80