Frozen

A disturbed fish factory worker (reliable character actress Shirley Henderson) tries to solve the mystery of her sister's disappearance in stilted thriller "Frozen," set in a British northwestern coastal town. Built on shifting sands of suspenser and supernatural cliches, pic by first-time helmer Juliet McKoen has atmospheric location work and Henderson's ethereal presence going for it, but even the thesp is not at her best here. Given likely lukewarm-to-icy reception ahead from auds and crix, pic's best prospect is an afterlife on cable.

With:
With: Shirley Henderson, Roshan Seth, Ger Ryan, Richard Armitage, Ralf Little, Jamie Sives, Shireen Shah, Sean Harris.

A disturbed fish factory worker (reliable character actress Shirley Henderson) tries to solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance in stilted thriller “Frozen,” set in a British northwestern coastal town. Built on shifting sands of suspenser and supernatural cliches, pic by first-time helmer Juliet McKoen has atmospheric location work and Henderson’s ethereal presence going for it, but even the thesp is not at her best here. Given likely lukewarm-to-icy reception ahead from auds and crix, pic’s best prospect is an afterlife on cable.

Kath Swarbrick (Henderson) feels caught in limbo, unable to grieve for her sister Annie who went missing two years ago. Counseling sessions with the local parish priest (Roshan Seth) provide a device for thumping bouts of exposition, evolving later into an implausible, chemistry-free romantic subplot. While investigating the spot where Annie was last seen, Kath seemingly discovers a strange portal into an alternative world’s estuary (filmed in Morecambe Bay). Or maybe she’s just going nuts. Pic strains for “Turn of the Screw”-style ambiguity, but plays more like a badly written “Tale of the Unexpected.” Shot adequately on high-def DV.

Frozen

U.K. - Denmark

Production: A RS Prods., Shoreline Films production in association with Freedonia Films (U.K.)/Zentropa Entertainments (Denmark). (International sales: Trust, Copenhagen.) Produced by Mark Lavender. Co-producer, Jim Hickey. Directed by Juliet McKoen. Screenplay, McKoen, Jayne Steel.

Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Philip Robertson; editor, Paul Endacott; music, Guy Michelmore; production designer, Loren Slater; costume, Bobby McCulla. Reviewed at London Film Festival, Oct. 26, 2004. English dialogue. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Shirley Henderson, Roshan Seth, Ger Ryan, Richard Armitage, Ralf Little, Jamie Sives, Shireen Shah, Sean Harris.

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