Frost (2014)

Welcome to the Arctic Circle. It’s cold and confusing and something is incredibly wrong. Welcome to the Arctic Circle. It’s dark and confusing and full of incredibly stupid people. Welcome to boredom. Welcome to Frost.

Frost is found footage…

Still with us? Cool. For those still willing to invest time in found footage film, you probably should avoid Frost otherwise your opinion might change. It does the genre no favours.

The plot? The opening features two random people doing something random somewhere in the Arctic Circle. It’s confusing, aggravating and bizarre. After this oddity, we’re thrown into the ‘plot’, where filmmaker Gunnar (Björn Thors) meets up with his physiologist girlfriend Agla (Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir), wanting to make a documentary about the research being conducted on a remote glacier.

However, when the other scientists disappear and never return, the couple realize something is seriously wrong… especially when one of them stumbles out of the darkness, frosty-eyed and ‘different’. His documentary soon becomes a dark and worrying diary of their experiences on the glacier…

Sounds intriguing? It’s not.

After 15 minutes a character utters “Now it’s starting to get interesting” and I found myself yelling “no it’s fucking not!” at the screen. The very first thing of any interest to happen occurs 28 minutes in. Did you manage to get that far? Well done! Now the film actually bothers to begin… but unfortunately most audience members would’ve turned off or lapsed into a solipsistic coma by then.

With a 79 minute runtime it’s unforgivable that a film can take over a third of that runtime basically doing nothing, with characters rambling about nothing and failing to film anything useful.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Frost is the ‘character development’ and dialogue, which doesn’t seem to exist. Jón Atli Jónasson is credited with writing Frost, but it genuinely feels improvised by the actors, whose average piece of dialogue choice seems to be ‘fuck’ or ‘what’s that?’ repeated in various guises.

Our main character Gunnar is supposed to be a filmmaker, but his camerawork is appalling, seemingly throwing the camera about like he’s having a conniption fit on a trampoline. It’s deliberately evasive, and where some viewers may find this intriguing and tense, most will just be left frustrated.

This failure to establish captivating characters could be a translation issue – the film is natively Icelandic and subtitled in English – but this seems unlikely. The resultant uncompelling character roster probably resulted from the writer and director attempting to feel ‘realistic’ in their found footage… but it just results in confusion, repetition and incredibly boring characters.

If the script is bad, you can usually find terrible direction following it, and director Reynir Lyngdal certainly lives up to that expectation. Possibly believing that the ‘power of your imagination’ will get you through anything, Lyngdal always cuts away before anything interesting happens, ensuring the camera pixelates or turns off at crucial scenes.

At first the evasive direction feels like an attempt to be intriguing… but after 60 minutes of it you realize it’s just laziness and poor direction. There is no excitement gained from listening to two people stumbling around in the dark muttering obscenities about something they – and we – don’t understand. It is just BORING.

Unfortunately even the ‘reveal’ – and therefore entire plot – revolves around something confusing and ridiculous and hardly seen. Coupled with the unlovable protagonists and annoying direction, Frost is an infuriating little film.

Frost has a decent central idea, but it’s poorly executed and takes eons to reach it. Coupled with the poor direction and script, this unclear mess will leave most audiences cold. Unless you’re an Icelandic film completist or a mad found footage fan (get out) then you’re probably best off avoiding Frost.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.