In ‘The Frozen Ground’ detective Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) is preparing to leave Anchorage with his wife Allie (Radha Mitchell) and children.
But then he receives a call to say that the body of a young woman has been found in the icy wilderness.
Soon after, Jack receives a file on Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens), a 17-year-old prostitute who claims that she escaped from the clutches of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), who held her hostage in his basement den and raped her.
Jack interviews Cindy and is moved by her tearful testimony, his interest piqued when the young woman reveals: “He said there were seven girls before me and I was lucky because they usually stay for a week.”
Convinced that Hansen is a dangerous serial killer, Jack works tirelessly to build a case against his prime suspect aided by Sergeant Lyle Haugsven (Dean Norris).
Based on the real-life hunt for serial killer Robert Hansen, ‘The Frozen Ground’ is a solid genre piece, which embraces hoary archetypes: the grizzled cop close to retirement, the working girl who has been abused by the system, the family man with a sadistic streak.
Cage is unusually subdued, almost sleepwalking through some scenes, but Hudgens continues to impress in her transition from wholesome Disney Channel princess to gritty actress and Cusack is suitably menacing.
The stark sub-zero locales send a similar chill down the spine.
The plot gathers a slow, steady momentum.
It’s certainly a slow burn and writer-director Scott Walker is in no hurry to draw his debut feature to a nail-biting conclusion.
‘The Frozen Ground’ (Cert 15, 90 mins, Koch Media, Thriller, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens, Radha Mitchell, Dean Norris, 50 Cent, Kevin Dunn.
Also out this week: ‘Riddick’, ‘You’re Next’, ‘Promised Land’, ‘Any Day Now’, ‘The Great Beauty’, ‘Hannigan’, ‘Kelly + Victor’, ‘We Are The Freaks’, ‘Mad Dogs - Season Four’, ‘Museum Hours’, ‘In Real Life’.
Look out for more film and DVD review in next week’s ‘The Guide’. You can also find a whole lot of things to see and do on our special entertainments website at www.wow247.co.uk