Nicolas Cage faces off against John Cusack in The Frozen Ground, a dark Alaska-set thriller in the vein of Insomnia in which a cop tries desperately to arrest a serial killer but struggles due to the people around him being unhelpful douchebags.
The main focus of the story (which is based on real events) is Vanessa Hudgens' prostitute Cindy who manages to escape Robert Hansen (a chilling John Cusack), claiming he kidnapped her, raped her and tried to kill her. Though she is being truthful, the police refuse to buy her story because of her background, which leaves Nicolas Cage's good cop in a tricky position seeing as he believes her, literally all the evidence points to the same suspect and there's a loose psychopathic killer lurking around, ready to strike again at any moment. This is one of those tense, serious movies that relies heavily on atmosphere and strong performances rather than action and artifice so if you're looking for balls-to-the-wall gun fights, you're in the wrong place. Which is not to say that the film is dull, it's just one of those you need to let yourself settle into and let the plot develop at its own pace.
Besides, the film stars 50 Cent as a pimp with a funny haircut and that's loads of fun in itself.
In case you're wondering: yes, this is one of those good Nicolas Cage movies where he's actually trying to give a decent, appropriate performance and succeeds. He never overdoes it and, surprisingly, he ends up feeling like a correct casting choice. Hudgens is perhaps trying a little too hard to counter her High School Musical image in a darker, infinitely more challenging role but she pulls it off well enough. It's Cusack, however, who really stands out in this movie playing a truly creepy character and doing that really well, proving once again that he is one of the most underrated actors around. As Hansen, Cusack manages to not only be genuinely unsettling but also feel like a real guy you could see being normal on the outside but inside being one disturbed fellow, to say the least.
The Frozen Ground is a dark, at times plain sinister thriller which, again much like Insomnia, should make you think twice about visiting Alaska. With Cage actually giving a damn and Cusack on top form, this is a well made, nail-biting little movie that's well worth checking out.
Just bring a scarf.