movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Written and directed by Adam Green, who’s written & directed a good 10 or so films. None that I’ve heard of.

Starring Emma Bell and Kevin Zegers (who played a kid in In The Mouth Of Madness, haha) as the couple, and Shawn Ashmore (who, ironically, was Iceman from the X-Men movies) as the 3rd wheel. It’s pretty much these 3 actors on screen the entire time.

Maybe 1% of screen time is devoted to the ski lift operator, Ed Ackerman, who played a highschool cop in 17 Again.

PLOT SUMMARY: Kids get stuck in a ski lift. And nobody’s coming back to help them anytime soon.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Negligent ski lift administration leads to satiated wolves.

QUIRKS: Man vs. nature survival horror psychological thriller. Do you go on ski trips? Hang out on ski lifts that sometimes get stuck? Make sure you’re not the last one when the resort closes…

VISUALS: Pretty much 3 people in a ski lift for the entire movie. The lack of a change on focus greatly increases the tension. While not overly gory, there are a few cringeworthy gore moments that are a must see. The movie as a whole doesn’t really have much blood–but people at the Sundance film festival nonetheless fainted, vomited, or had to leave the theatre crying or shaking. Carolyn was shaken up by this film too… I had to hold her hand, awwwww.

The movie was shot without any greenscreen or CGI. They really were up on a ski lift. The hired camera crew was in fact too scared to dangle up there, so the director and director of photography ended up doing a lot of the camerawork themselves.

Even the [highlight for spoilers] wolves were “real”. There was no stunt double. When the black wolf went up to Keven Zegers’s face, and he looks away — that was him in real life looking to the animal trainer for help. The wolf had to be pulled away. The spot where they shot it is supposedly where someone committed suicide, too. Just to make it creepier.

MORALS: Pay for your lift ticket.

GOOD STUFF: Horrible hopeless unbreaking tension. Total cringe moments of horror. With very few cuts, you rarely have a moment to take a breath and calm down. Things just get worse… And worse… And worse.

BAD STUFF: In actuality, [highlight for spoilers] the ski resorts that Carolyn has gone to all send down some skiers, prior to shutting down the lift machine, to ensure that nobody is stuck on the ski lift. I also wonder if [highlight for spoilers] ski lift cables are really “razor sharp”.

CONCLUSION: While kind of minimalist, this was actually a riveting psychological thriller survival horror movie. Sure, man vs. nature has been done again and again, and you could argue this is simply a more modern To Build A Fire. But goddamn, this was a cringe-worthy movie of sucky suckiness. This felt a lot like an episode of I Shouldn’t Be Alive.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10. She was shaken up by the movie.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.5/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–WRONG!!).

RECOMMENDATION: I almost decided not to watch this. That was a mistake! SEE IT!

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Jon B recommended this, so I know he liked it. OutlawVern’s review.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS BY CAROLYN:

Good movie.. It is unlikely, but it can and has happened in real life.
I was reading some message boards to find out what you should do if this does happen in real life.  Most of them agree, “Sit tight and wait for help.”  But of course, it doesn’t help if [highlight for spoilers–>] the mountain is going to be closed for 4 days, and the help doesn’t see you and it’s just a horrible situation all around..
This lady jumped – She ended up with spinal damage.  http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/1-3-2002-8970.asp
I remember the story about the guy who burned his money to get help…  I’ll need to start carrying a lighter around with me.. :)  http://www.austriantimes.at/news/General_News/2010-02-15/20614/German_%20%20%20%20stranded_six_hours_on_chairlift
At Snowshoe, they make it a point to make you realize that one of the lifts closes at 4:00pm and you better damn well make sure you don’t get stranded over there when the lift is closed.  Signs are everywhere…  They block off the slopes.
In Vermont, we ended up having ski patrol following us along because the mountain was closing and they basically had to escort us.  But we weren’t on the lift.  We were already heading down the mountain and the ski patrol caught up to us and were like “We’re closing now.”

Mood: full
Music: Anthrax – I Am The Law (live)