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The Frozen Ground Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Village Voice Rob Staeger

    The climactic interrogation wraps up neatly and just in time, much more like a story "based on actual events" than the events themselves.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Unfortunately, writer-director Scott Walker's film is a muddled and strangely inert one, generating little of the suspense or anguish its subject requires; despite its high-profile cast.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Not for kids

Bleak, very violent, but compelling serial killer story.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Frozen Ground is based on a true story about a man who raped and killed many women in Alaska. Though not everything is shown, the material is very strong and isn't recommended for kids or teens. A young woman (played by High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens) is kidnapped, tied up, and taunted. She later describes being raped, though it's not shown. Male characters are beat up and shot in the head. Scenes take place in a strip club, and several topless women are shown; sex acts are described. Language is very strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," the "N" word, and more. The teen character is shown smoking many cigarettes, trying crystal meth for the first time, and overdosing (non-fatally) on cocaine. The movie closes with photographs of many of the killer's real-life victims.

  • Families can talk about The Frozen Ground's violence. How much is shown and not shown? Which has more impact, and why?
  • Is it shocking to see former Disney starlet Hudgens in such a dark role? Is she too young for this kind of character?
  • How does the portrayal of the serial killer in this movie differ from other movie serial killers, like, say, Hannibal Lecter?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: This is a very pessimistic movie. It takes place in a world in which girls can get mistreated by their parents and run away, only to find no other options besides prostitution or stripping, and in which police are hamstrung by the law. Not even catching the bad guy seems to help much, in the grand scheme of things.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The main police sergeant is a brave man who's dedicated to helping others and risks his life and job to catch the bad guy and protect the good guys. He truly seems to care. But he's the only positive example here.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A serial killer kidnaps, ties up, tortures, rapes, and murders prostitutes and runaways. All of this is discussed frequently, though only one victim is shown. She gets away, but she's shown being tied up and taunted; her rape is described verbally. She also talks vaguely about being abused as a child, and she's chased, threatened, and terrorized several other times during the movie. Male characters are beaten and shot in the head. A decomposed body is briefly shown. There's some general yelling and tension, and a bloody nose is shown. The movie closes with photographs of many of the killer's real-life victims.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Some scenes take place inside a strip club, and several topless women are shown. One or two naked female bottoms are shown. Prostitutes are shown. The killer's sexual activities are discussed; he explains that he goes to prostitutes because he doesn't like his wife to perform certain oral activities on him.

  • language false3

    Language: Language is very strong and includes "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word," "c--t," "bitch," "whore," "Goddamn," "hell," "Jesus," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The teen prostitute is shown smoking lots of cigarettes. She's given some crystal meth before going onstage and stripping for the first time. She also snorts some cocaine and overdoses, but she survives. The hero drinks a whisky at home after work.