Iceland has had quite a prodigious output of films in recent years, maybe not so in the horror genre although one notable exception was undoubtedly Harpoon aka Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (2009). With Frost, a cursory glance at the premise reveals echoes of been there, seen it, bought the t-shirt. However, as Larry Fessenden proved with the excellent Last Winter (2006), an Arctic based horror movie doesn’t necessarily have to be a carbon copy of The Thing.
We begin with filmmaker Gunnar (Bjorn Thors) flying in to a glacier camp somewhere in Arctic territory to surprise his girlfriend Alga (Anna Gunndis Guomundsdottir), a physiologist. The wide, expansive shots of the snow laden territory are drool-worthy and the recently reunited twosome jump on a pair of jet-ski’s to head on down to camp. Bedding down for the night we realise that Gunnar is a pretty obsessive camera geek and is determined to film every mundane snippet of conversation between him and his girlfriend – or maybe that’s just because this is a found footage flick!
The next morning, a cursory glance around camp reveals that Gunnar and Alga appear to be the only ones left at the base. They think nothing of it presuming that the others have simply gone off to undertake some research, but as time passes the realisation that something is wrong begins to dawn on them as all efforts to make contact fail. Despite this alarming absence, our Nordic pairing seem to remain relatively calm and head back to their cabin, have a few drinks and discuss making a Paris Hilton style sex tape.
During the night however they’re woken by a strange cracking noise – is it a glacier? Is it a person? Is it an ancient being awoken from its snow-capped slumber? Well to be honest, we’re not really given much in terms of clues. We are however given plenty of shots of Gunnar and Alga theorising what the disturbance could be whilst stumbling around endlessly in the snow, before retreating to shelter as Gunnar whines and Alga attempts to think rationally.
Frost is without doubt a disappointment. I’ve long championed ‘found footage’ films amid the continued berating of them in horror circles, but sadly the pedestrian and uninspired approach of Frost does little to help my cause. It’s difficult to pin a single reason for its disappointment, but a good place to start is its pacing which for a film with such a short running time is laboured to say the least. The first half of the film really drags, and any jump scares or moments of terror barely register.
On the plus side I found the character of Alga to be really well written as a strong (almost) fearless female lead, especially compared to her snivelling boyfriend. The icy vistas too were gorgeous to look at also and certainly set the film up with good intentions. Generally though, Frost was a real frustration especially considering the almost infallible conveyor belt of Nordic features that have come our way.