"Shot on a real glacier in some genuinely fierce weather, it is at times completely immersive."

Out on a remote glacier, Agla (Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir) is getting her first chance to be a real scientist, working in a drilling station. Boyfriend Gunnar (Björn Thors) pays her a surprise visit. He wants to see the glacier, and he loves the differentness of the experience - not like going on holiday to other countries, he says, where everything is basically the same. But when Agla's colleagues don't return from a day's surveying, the two find themselves confronted with something very different indeed.

Narratively, there's not a great deal to this film, and that's probably the reason for some of the negative reactions it's received from viewers. It's worth saying at the outset that this isn't for everyone and fans of conventional horror may leave disappointed. With not much blood or gore and practically no violence, this has, at its core, more in common with the ghost story genre. It's all about atmosphere and existential terror. To make this work, it depends on strong acting, and both leads deliver.

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This is a rare found footage film that looks like something people might actually shoot, with little in the way of contrivance. Shot on a real glacier in some genuinely fierce weather, it is at times completely immersive. In the cramped spaces of the tents and laboratory hut, the camera maneuvers awkwardly. Outside, where Gunnar is dependent on Agla's experience just to find his way, the film recalls the best bits of The Blair Witch Project and deep sea fishing documentary Leviathan in bringing its characters face to face with the power of the natural world. There is plenty here that could kill them without the need to invoke the alien or supernatural, and, indeed, the film hints that what Agla and Gunnar find is something intrinsic to their familiar surroundings.

Hinging on a strong turn from Guðmundsdóttir to deliver its final blow, Frost is a perfect example of how talent and a willingness to build a script around available resources can overcome budgetary restrictions and enable small scale filmmakers to punch above their weight. Simple as it is, it's a poetic, haunting little film that lingers in the imagination, and it's an impressive calling card for all involved.

Reviewed on: 08 Feb 2014
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Two people at a remote drilling station on a glacier grow increasingly concerned about missing colleagues.
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Director: Reynir Lyngdal

Writer: Jón Atli Jónasson

Starring: Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir, Björn Thors, Hallur Ingólfsson, Helgi Björnsson, Einar Dagbjartsson, Valur Freyr Einarsson

Year: 2012

Runtime: 79 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Iceland, Finland


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