Childhood friends Dan Walker and Joe Lynch, along with Dan's girlfriend Parker O'Neil, spend a Sunday afternoon at a New England ski resort on Mount Holliston. They are eager to take one last run down the mountain before they go home; however, the ski resort decides to close early because a storm is moving in.
The friends convince the ski lift attendant to let them on one last time. Before the group gets all the way to the top, the attendant is called into the boss's office and is replaced by a co-worker. As he leaves, he tells the co-worker that there are only three skiers left. Another set of three skiers comes down the mountain. When he sees them, he shuts down the ski lift, stranding the three friends in their ski lift chair far above the ground.
They take it as a joke, but the ski resort's lights are then turned off, leaving the three friends in fear and shock. Parker knows the ski slopes have closed for the week. Dan feels he has no choice but to jump from the ski lift chair and get help, as they will not survive up there in the bitter cold until Friday.
After discussing the danger, Dan decides to jump off the lift. Upon hitting the ground, he suffers a compound fracture on both of his legs. Soon, his screams and the scent of blood attracts a pack of wolves. Joe, now fearing for Dan's safety, decides to try to get to the ground by traversing the suspension cable between the lifts and steel support tower. However, as wolves close in on Dan, he returns to the chair and holds Parker as Dan is brutally torn apart by the wolves.
In the morning, Parker awakes with her hand frozen on the bar, which she grabbed during her sleep. She is also suffering severe frostbite. Joe discusses his previous life experiences with her, before attempting to traverse the ski lift cable, and onto a support pole on the other side. By doing this, he also causes the chair Parker is sitting in to dangerously loosen from the cable. After scaring off a pair of wolves by using a ski pole, he slides down the mountain on Parker's snowboard, planning to return with help. The wolves give chase after him. Joe never returns and Parker spends the night alone on the loose cable.
The next day, Parker begins to climb out of the lift, but the screw comes loose and causes the lift to fall. Blocked by a cable, the lift is hanging a few meters above the ground. Parker jumps and then the lift lands on her ankle. Injured, she begins to slide and crawl down the mountain. She encounters the wolves feasting on Joe's mutilated corpse. Too occupied with Joe's corpse, they ignore her as she continues down, eventually crawling to a nearby road.
The first car that passes doesn't see her but soon a minivan appears and the driver, seeing her outstretched body lying in the snow along the side of the road, stops to assist her. The film ends with the driver saying they are going to a nearby hospital, followed by Parker closing her eyes.
Frozen was filmed at Snowbasin near Ogden, Utah, in February 2009 and distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment.
The film premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It was released in North American theaters on February 5, 2010, with distribution from Anchor Bay Films.
While playing at Sundance, the film caused quite a stir with numerous faintings reported from audience members that could not handle the tension of the film. One such fainting happened at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake City. Frozen also opened the Glasgow FrightFest. On February 5, the film had multiple screens in areas in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Chicago.
The film premiered on February 5, 2010 with the entire cast and crew at Mann Chinese 6 on Hollywood Blvd. Frozen was released in Malaysia on June 24, 2010.
Frozen opened to a first weekend box office of $131,395. It underperformed the following weeks. Internationally, the film earned over $2.4 million, bringing its total gross receipts to slightly less than $2.7 million. At its widest domestic release, it screened in 106 theaters.
The film was released on a single disc DVD and Blu-ray on September 28, 2010. Bonus features include an audio commentary with writer/director Adam Green and the leads Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers and Emma Bell; the documentaries "Catching Frostbite: The Origins of Frozen", "Three Below Zero", "Shooting Through It" and "Beating the Mountain: Surviving Frozen"; deleted scenes; and the official theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray features an exclusive commentary from Adam Green, cinematographer Will Barratt, and editor Ed Marx.
A soundtrack album consisting of the film's complete score, composed by Andy Garfield was released by 2M1 Records Group in January 2011. It is available in a limited pressed run of 500 copies signed by Garfield and Adam Green. The album was produced by George Fox. Additionally, it has been released on iTunes and Amazon as a download.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 62% of 89 surveyed critics gave it a positive review, and the average rating was 5.8/10; the site's consensus is: "Writer/director Adam Green has the beginnings of an inventive, frightening yarn in Frozen, but neither the script nor the cast are quite strong enough to truly do it justice." Critic Richard Roeper called the film "an entertaining, suspense-filled, sometimes wonderfully grotesque little scarefest", though The Hollywood Reporter commented that it "is not written, directed, or acted well enough to be a first-rate thriller". Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times made it a NYT Critics' Pick and wrote, "A minimalist setup delivers maximum fright in Frozen, a nifty little chiller that balances its cold terrain with an unexpectedly warm heart." Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Don’t be surprised if the movie’s most wince-inducing moments come not from the "disturbing images" (as the MPAA describes the sight of a leg bone sticking six inches out of one character's ski pants) but rather of the bad acting and worse dialogue."
It was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, but lost to Drag Me to Hell.