Based on actual events, ‘The Frozen Ground’ tells the story of Robert Hansen (John Cusack) a supposedly unassuming baker turned serial killer who between 1971 and 1983 kidnapped, raped and murdered 17 young women in Anchorage, Alaska.
During his last two weeks on the job, and motivated by the loss of his own sister, Detective Jack Halcombe (Nicholas Cage) agrees to take responsibility for apprehending Hansen. Halcombe is assisted in the hunt for Hansen by Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens) a prostitute who managed to escape Hansen’s grasp before she could meet a grizzly end. Initially the sceptical local police force are reluctant to trust Paulson, as they believe that she’s trying to extort Hansen. However Detective Halcombe who is certain that she is key to solving the case.
The film reunites Nicholas Cage and John Cusack, who despite not sharing a lot of screen time, give their best performances since Kickass in 2010 and The Paper Boy in 2012. The opening scene sees Hudgens in distressing circumstances after having been found by the Anchoage Police force, she then goes on to give a solid performance portraying a victim that has been through a prolonged traumatic experience and does well relaying these emotions to the audience.
Whilst first time director Scott Walker has done his best to make a tense thriller that tries to assess Hansen’s motivations for wanting to put his victims through these horrible ordeals, it has unfortunately fallen some way short. The real Robert Hansen had a troubled upbringing, was previously arrested for violence as well as sex offences and by the time he was apprehended for the murders had developed a misogynistic need to control women.
Walker failed to develop Hansen’s character by skipping this important aspect of of his history and personality which had the affect of making the character less engaging. Overall worth a watch but definitely not even in the same league as ‘Se7en’ which some of the tag-lines suggest.
Verdict: Didn’t even break the ice
The Frozen Ground is out on DVD now