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Frozen In Fear
cast: Eric Roberts, Rod Steiger, and Catherine Oxenberg

director: Robin P. Murray

95 minutes (15) 2000
Universal VHS rental

RATING: 2/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
After a painting bought in a junk shop in a tiny Montana village catches her eye, a New York art dealer and her assistant set off to find the artist. He turns out to be a handsome local recluse, who hasn't spoken since (cue dramatic stage-whispers) the night his parents were lost on the lake in a terrible storm. But the laconic, spooky locals don't like city slickers hanging around, and someone is dragging off young women who won't be missed. As our heroine succumbs to the charms of the simple backwoods boy, is she slipping into the arms of a killer, or is a more sinister secret gripping this quiet community?
   Rarely has a film had a less appropriate title than this one. You're more likely to be yawning in the armchair, when you're not sniggering at the heavy-handed spookiness and clichéd characters, or being annoyed by cheap he's-behind-you shocks. The script seems to be groping for Twin Peaks style surreal menace, but a selection pack of silhouetted figures, meaningful dialogue and dreamed flashbacks just isn't good enough. The killer might as well have 'nutcase' tattooed on his forehead, and even if you can summon some sympathy for our heroine, you'll be begging for the murderer to turn his attentions to her whiny, pretentious assistant.
   Somewhere in here, there's the kernel of an interesting idea about a dysfunctional family and father-son relationships, but it's weighed down by serial killer clichés and small town melodrama. Apart from the splendid mountain scenery, there's very little to recommend this - and very little here that you won't have seen somewhere before.