The Frozen Ground.
The capture of a long-running Alaskan serial killer is depicted in the solid if unmemorable true-crime drama "The Frozen Ground." Writer-director Scott Walker's feature debut stars John Cusack as the deceptively mild-mannered perp, Vanessa Hudgens as one victim who managed to get away, and Nicolas Cage as the investigating state trooper who used her testimony to end a murderous spree that, once fully uncovered, proved far worse than anyone imagined. The pic rolled out in various overseas territories July 11, with a U.S. theatrical launch planned for Aug. 23. B.O. prospects look so-so, but ancillary biz should be strong.
Revealing whodunit early on, the film could have used more vivid atmospherics and suspense to distinguish itself from myriad similarly themed (if mostly fictive) screen exercises. Only Gia Mantegna's few scenes as a naively trusting, then terrified victim really bring the horror of these crimes to emotional life. The result hangs a tad slackly between thriller and procedural, but still holds attention throughout.
DIRECTOR: Scott Walker
CAST: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens, Dean Norris, Kevin Dunn, Olga Valentina, Michael McGrady, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Kurt Fuller, Brad William Henke, Katherine LaNasa, Ryan O'Nan, Matt Gerald, Gia Mantegna, Radha Mitchell, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson