Adam Green’s Frozen (Anchor Bay) is based around a simple hook: 3 friends trapped in a chairlift for what could be a week at a closed down ski resort, with personal issues, nasty winter elements, and wild things rapidly reducing their chances of survival.
Peter Atencio’s The Rig (Anchor Bay) is essentially Alien on an oil rig, which is more or less what Sean S. Cunningham tried in Deepstar Six (1989), and George P. Cosmatos mimicked in Leviathan (1989) with a creature more reminiscent of the The Thing (1982), absorbing its prey into a walking genetic soup of faces and arms.
Frozen’s location was simple – a chair, 50 feet above ground – whereas Atencio had an entire oil rig at his disposal, but the use of imagination, storytelling, and film technique is vastly different. Green used light, shadows, sounds, good writing and a great trio of actors to make a tense shocker, but Atencio seemed more content to make a product designed to fill rental shelves and online catalogues in an age when being original is what makes films, as rental product tend to look and sound utterly generic.
When reviewing films, it’s sometimes funny how there’s less need to blather about why a film like Frozen (M) is good, but more thought is required to explain why The Rig (M) is a terrible missed opportunity.
Mark R. Hasan, Editor