2013 / Director. Scott Walker.
Since I was a teenager, the psychology of serial killers has fascinated me. Before the internet I would sit in my high school library and read as many books on infamous killers as possible. I wore out my Encarta CD-Rom too. Well before I was 18 i was all too familiar with monsters like Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez and John Wayne Gacy. I vividly remember watching Andrew Cananan's cross country killing spree live on CNN and followed it every day right up to the murder of Gianni Versace and his eventual suicide. I was obsessed with one particular serial killer who plagued my mind - Robert Hansen. He was an Alaskan family man who raped and tortured over 30 women and murdered at least 17, that could be proven. He had a pilot's licence and would fly his victims into the remote Alaskan wilderness, where he would often release them and hunt them and leave their bodies to the animals. The case is fascinating and it's taken 30 years for his story to become a feature film. THE FROZEN GROUND surprised the hell out of me. Having known the story I was prepared for a huge amount of liberty being taken, however, this film is VERY true to the case and told with as little embellishment as possible. Obviously some details are slightly altered and/or omitted but for the most part, the narrative plays out verbatim. It's superbly cast with the 3 leads all digging deep and outdoing themselves. Both Nicholas Cage and John Cusack have been hot and cold over recent years but here they have stepped up and given superb performances. Cage leaves Cage and home and brings a real sincerity that we haven't seen from him in over a decade. Cusack, too, manifests a sinister performance far superior to anything he's done in a very long time. And then there's Vanessa Hudgens, an actress I'm not all that fussed about, she also nails it. Director Scott Walker clearly knows his material and he has used the cold, harsh Alaskan landscape as an essential component to his storytelling. The music is also good. It's understated and has a melancholy aching to it. With my expectations low to begin with, it's possible that I am being a lot more generous than I could have been but THE FROZEN GROUND surprised me and it's sincerity and dedication to the murdered women is heartfelt. Each of the 17 confirmed victims are given a moments grace before the filmmakers or cast members receive their end credits. This impressed me. I'm keen to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment.