Frozen in Fear (2000) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Two thumbs down for this ultra-lameazoid cheesefest, unless of course you have always wanted to see Eric Roberts and Wagnerian Opera, together at last.

Tuna's comments in white

Frozen in Fear (2000), which IMDB calls The Flying Dutchman, is a grade Z. I am not altogether sure if it is horror or thriller. A buyer for a Seattle gallery buys a painting from a small Montana town, and the owner, Catherine Oxenberg, and her assistant, Ellina McCormick go back to try and sign the artist for a show. 

The town is strange, nearly abandoned, and the artist, Sean (Eric Roberts) is mute, at least at the beginning. The film is confusing and pointless beginning to end. It is obvious that everyone in town is from the shallow end of the gene pool, and, as it turns out, they all share genes. 

Oxenberg has decent breast exposure in a love scene with Roberts, and someone, definitely McCormick's character, has breast and bush exposure being tortured by Roberts. My guess is that it is not a double, as they obviously didn't hire McCormick based on any acting ability. 

As a final insult, they end the film, fade to black, end the film, fade to black, then end the film, leaving room for a sequel. 

Scoop's comments in yellow:

I was just thinking the other day, "what would make a perfect movie for me?" The answer, of course, was Rip Torn's asshole, as it would have been for any of you, so I rented Freddy Got Fingered. But after getting past that obvious choice, my second preference would be for a movie that combines The House of Wax and Wagnerian opera, with Eric Roberts as a talking mute. At last, my dream has come true.

Oh, boy! What a mess.

It's bad enough when filmmakers create sordid grade-b junk. But this is arty, pretentious grade b junk. You see, the entire film plays out like grand opera. Only about four people live in the town, which is filled with swirling fog. Other scenes take place on the high seas, amid thunder and the howling winds, with people shouting their lines at the top of their lungs, lines like "Oh, God, why hast thou cursed me with a faithless woman?" 

Meanwhile, as the faux version of The Flying Dutchman plays out in the film, the real Wagnerian opera of the same name is playing in the background. I suppose they used 20-30 minutes of music from the opera. All I can say is that's some high-concept twisted shit for your basic House of Wax movie, except with ice instead of wax. 

What little value this movie might have had was spoiled by a very poor casting decision.

The basic dramatic tension in the movie is based on a single point - is the gifted mute artist a misunderstood, troubled, sensitive guy, or is he a psychotic capable of heinous acts.

Well, you haven't seen the movie, but I'll tell you the part is played by Eric Roberts, so what do you think?

See what I mean?

If the part was played by Edward Norton, OK, it could go either way, so we have some dramatic tension, but Eric Roberts? We knew the KO was coming right from the opening bell.

Now if the part had been played by Tom Selleck, someone we expect to be kind and gentle, that would have been cool!

In addition, Roberts must be the chattiest mute in the history of mutedom. He must be the only mute who talks more than Kathie Lee and Regis added together. I think he must have watched that old Albert Brooks routine about the talking mime.


See the main commentary. Neither of us is sure about McCormick, and we have differing opinions.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • bare-bones

Tuna pointed out quite accurately that they virtually promised a sequel. Oh, the delicious anticipation. Be still, my beating heart. Oh, God, why wilt thou curse me with a feckless sequel? 

By the way, I think that might have been the stand-in in that torture scene, not Ellina McCormick. They cut every single shot at the neck, even though it was choppy and ugly and more trouble to do so. However, I have to say that the DVD includes only a 4:3 print, and it is probably a pan & scan, so there may be much more info off to the sides, precious info which would resolve this debate, something akin to resolving the ontological argument.

Tuna seems to have a fair question, though. If they didn't hire McCormick specifically to do the nude scene, then why did they hire her? 

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 3.1 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna grades this film is a D- (Scoop: agreed, although I might have said as high as C- with a better casting choice for the part of the painter.)

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