Captain Mortimer (Rory Wilton) takes his crew on a rescue mission to the North Pole to locate and bring home an old friend and his lost expedition crew. When his ship is frozen into the ice sheet, Mortimer and his crew find themselves having to fight off bloodthirsty fish-like creatures. After fleeing the ship, they find shelter inside a mountain but hunger and frostbite kick in, as the crew realise they may have unwittingly stumbled into the lair of the creatures they’ve escaped from.
‘Freeze’ is an ambitious film from Charlie Steeds, who wrote and directed it. I was a big fan of his 2018 film ‘The Barge People’, which was also shown at FrightFest, so my expectations for this one were pretty high. The film starts off strong enough, establishing tension between Mortimer’s crew and introducing a stowaway (Beatrice Barrilà) who has links to the crew they’re trying to rescue. The build-up is slow but that’s not particularly a bad thing as we get to spend time with the characters, and understand a bit about who they are.
The reveal of the monster on the ship is also executed well, giving a bit of an ‘Alien’ vibe and nicely creating an atmosphere. Just as I was really settling into the film though, I felt the rug was pulled from under me as the monsters introduced (who really did remind me of the Slitheen from ‘Doctor Who’) are largely side-lined as the truth about Mortimer’s friend is revealed. The film then takes a turn into the over-the-top and the story begins to fall apart, which is a real shame.
The story takes too many aspects from horror films that have been done before (and likely watched to death by a horror audience) and I felt ‘Freeze’ was lacking that original element that could have really elevated. The cast, on the whole, turn in solid enough performances with Jake Watkins and Rory Wilton proving to be particular highlights. The real draw here though is the monsters and they are sadly under-used throughout the entire film.
‘Freeze’ had a lot of potential but sadly the story doesn’t allow it to live up to it. I was hoping for a monster romp in the North Pole, and while the film partially delivers on that, it doesn’t give enough time to it. The pacing is a little off, and that makes the film feel like it drags at times, despite its 90 minute run-time. I appreciate what Steeds was trying to do here but unfortunately, for me, it just didn’t really work.
Cast: Johnny Vivash, David Lenik, Ricardo Freitas, Jake Watkins, Rory Wilton, Tim Cartwright Director: Charlie Steeds Writer: Charlie Steeds Certificate: 18 Duration: 90 mins Released by: Dark Temple Movies