I went into this one blind, and holy god did it blindside me! The Frozen Ground is absolutely tremendous. I pretty much went in just expecting some good typical Nic Cage action alongside John Cusack, with Vanessa Hudgens as a stripper adding some nice icing on the cake. But with stellar performances from the entire cast and a constant sense of tension throughout, this chilling movie is the surprise of the year by far.
This movie is based on the true events to find the evidence that would put away Robert Hansen, the serial murderer of 17 to 21 young women, with Nic Cage playing the lead detective who picks up the case after Vanessa Hudgens managed to escape being Hansen's next victim. We the viewer are completely aware of Hansen's guilt the whole movie, just as Cage is certain of it, but this isn't the kind of mystery where it matters too much that we're not entirely left in the dark. This is a movie that's all about the hunt, and just as Hansen likes to hunt his victims, Nic Cage is out on a hunt of his own as he tries to stay a step ahead and put together a solid case that'll finally put Hansen away for good.
I really can't stress enough just how blown away I was by this movie, and a lot of it comes down to the impeccable acting on hand. Nic Cage has been having a lot of fun in a lot of campy movies as of late, but he puts on his serious face for this role and really gives us one of his true better outings in a long damn time. And John Cusack is convincing as hell as Hansen, the creepy stalker and murderer of all his young victims. And damn does this guy bring a ton of intensity to his role. Just about anytime he appears on screen you just tense up by his mere presence. The guy is seriously legitimately threatening as hell.
But while those two gave solid performances, the true shocker here came from Vanessa Hudgens. She hasn't necessarily been bad in anything I've seen her in to date, though she's never been terribly good up to this point either. And yeah, she definitely looks great and plays a good stripper, which was really all I was expecting from her here, but good god, that girl is on fire in this movie, giving us the performance of her life. Playing a young prostitute who's had it rough growing up, she delivers the goods here and then some. I was thoroughly impressed, and after this performance, she's proven that she's more than just a pretty face, and I can definitely see her going on to have a solid acting career now.
But even so, one more for that pretty face of hers!
Everything about this movie just clicked. The music kept my pulse pounding as it built up the tension. And again, even though the movie didn't feel the need to keep us in the dark too often, there were still some nice twists here, and even the moments you could see coming came at us with a ridiculous level of intensity behind them. Just as I couldn't stress enough about the acting, I too can't stress just how intense this movie can get. This one definitely got my blood pumping, and I was staring wide eyed on the edge of my seat throughout most of it.
This movie received a limited release in theaters, and it didn't come around my town just yet, but it was one of those that also got an on demand release alongside its theatrical run. So if this one doesn't open up near you, then I'd definitely recommend checking it out that way, because this is seriously one of the best movies to release all year, and by far the biggest surprise of 2013 so far. With a smart script and incredible performances that'll keep you constantly on edge, this is one intense as hell thriller that you won't want to miss.