Mystery DVD Club No.14: Frozen In Fear

Parcel for me! What could it be...? [unwrap, unwrap]...DOH!

Frozen In Fear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Club/Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Club…The Mystery DVD Club is coming to take you away…

So here we go again. The Den of Geek Mystery DVD Club rolls into town for another instalment in our continuing mission: to explore forgotten B-movies; to seek out entertainment from bargain basement DVD bins and career-wasteland turns from fallen stars; to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Regular followers of the Club should know the deal by now. The editors go on a quick smash-and-grab run to their nearest friendly neighbourhood budget retailer, buy up a load of obscure films no one’s ever heard of (or perhaps saw once at three o’clock in the morning on some low-rent digital TV channel several years ago whilst battling a bout of acute insomnia) in the hope of finding some lost diamonds in the rough.

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They then send out said films blind to the reviewers for our deliberation. It’s kind of like DVD Russian roulette – except the worst we can ever expect is to lose an hour-and-a-half of our lives on some unmentionable tosh rather than a Deer Hunter-style face off with a loco old ‘Nam buddy.

My last experience was quite a pleasant one (the enjoyably naff time travelling road movie Retroactive), so I was more than game to man-up and tackle another round. Bring it on, I can take it. However, there is that old saying about pride coming before a fall…

Frozen in Fear is quite possibly the hugest pile of shite anyone could ever have the misfortune to sit through. There’s no hyperbole involved in that statement – no acting for the cameras – just a straight-up fact. Let’s just repeat it again, then, so no one can possibly harbour any illusions as to the intentions of this ‘review’:

Frozen in Fear is quite possibly the hugest pile of shite anyone could ever have the misfortune to sit through.

Eric Roberts, wallowing deep in the depths of a career abyss that he has only just salvaged after a turn in The Dark Knight, stars as Sean, a reclusive artist in some American backwater called Dark Hollow (yes the film is that hackneyed) – a town permanently shrouded in buckets of dry ice (the intended effect is creepy, esoteric mist).

Meanwhile art dealer Lacy (Catherine Oxenberg…nope never heard of her either), turns up with the Machiavellian master plan of repeatedly humping Sean until he agrees to do an exhibition for her gallery. Somewhere along the way the-once great Rod Steiger (oh how long ago In the Heat of the Night and On the Waterfront must have felt!) starts poking his nose in, as the whole thing builds to a completely predictable and instantly forgettable dénouement.

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Join the dots yourself, ladies and gents – the closest synopsis wins a Double Decker, courtesy of myself.

In fairness, Frozen in Fear was commissioned as a TV movie, so it was unable to wrestle the ignominious infamy of my own personal ‘Worst Film I Have Ever Seen’ award away from White Chicks. But that is its only saving grace. Take every element normally considered by film reviews – acting, dialogue, direction, editing, cinematography, plot etc… – and prefix them with ‘eye ball-rapingly terrible’ and you have my learned opinion.

It takes quite a lot of dedication on the part of everyone involved to make a film as bad as this – apathy on a grand scale. Roberts even manages to massacre segments of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchmen (Frozen in Fear’s original TV title), making the Teutonic maestro’s poetic prose sound as corn-fed as an ASDA roast chicken on a Sunday afternoon. Not bad for a professional.

An undiluted travesty of a film that thoroughly deserves the rot in the hinterland of the Great Unwatched, Frozen in Fear is… oh screw it, you get the idea.