Film review: The Frozen Ground (15)


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The Independent Culture

Based on real events, this Alaska-set thriller traces the investigation that led to the unmasking of a serial killer.

Nicolas Cage plays State Trooper Jack Holcombe, who spots a link between young women disappearing on the mean streets of Anchorage and corpses found in a distant wilderness. It seems the killer liked to hunt his prey before dispatching them.

Vanessa Hudgens plays the streetwalker who alone has escaped the sadistic attentions of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a family man with minor convictions dating back to the 1970s. But can a case be assembled against him? The film operates without fear of the commonplace: the script is by-the-numbers, too.

Radha Mitchell as Cage's wife gets only a couple of lines, both of them howling cliches; and you can almost spot the scenes where fiction has remodelled the facts into a cinematic shape. The photographs of the murdered women, sequenced over the closing credits, make a grisly and necessary corrective.