I've been a Dylan McDermott Fan for quite some time now. From his early work in some decent feature films from the 80s to his big starring role on 'The Practice.' Over the past few years, it was great to see him return to some feature film work as well as the hit show, An American Horror Story. The guy has a solid resume, but I can't remember a time where he was in a movie like 'Freezer', which is a direct-to-dvd movie that takes place all in one location.
Director Mikael Salomon has a long list of TV credits, but is mostly known for his cinematography work on such films as James Cameron's 'The Abyss' and Ron Howard's Backdraft. Any evidence of how well those were shot back then does not appear anywhere in 'Freezer', which is unfortunate considering the whole movie is in one location. Sure there are some different camera angles to keep up the flow, but there is nothing magical or fun about the camerawork here to make this one location shoot lively.
McDermott plays Robert, a man who is on a date at a restaurant, but is then viciously attacked and taken away. He awakens in a cold meat locker. As soon as he is awake, two big Russian guys come in and start yelling at him, but they do not know English so the three men get nowhere fast. One of the Russians musters the word "money" and Robert seems clueless. Then a woman enters the meat locker named Alisa (Yuliya Snigir), who speaks English and informs Robert that $8 million in mob money has been stolen, and that he is the prime suspect. Alisa and the two Russian enforcers tell him that he will die in four hours of hypothermia if he does not tell them where the money is. And just to make a point, they take his shoes away, but leave him his coat.
The ultimate downfall of 'Freezer' is that it focuses more on trying to fool its audience than to follow any real sort of story structure. It seemed like every few minutes there was some sort of twist or turn, whether it was somebody lying about who they really were or when Robert finds another person (Peter Facinelli) inside the meat locker with him. The director is always trying to throw us off guard. But all it did was bog down the story with more cliched circumstances. There is a big reveal at the end of the film, but it doesn't seem to make sense. Instead it seems that the writer and director got lazy and thought this was the perfect way to shock the audience.
The dialogue is clunky at best, with some laughable one-liners. It all has a layer of cheese. Facinelli seems bored to be there, even as McDermott gives it a good shot, but there is nowhere for him to go with the shoddy script. 'Freezer' does nothing new here, and we've seen these claustrophobic stories before. I was hoping this would be a fresh and fun take on the 'one-setting' type of film, but I guess we will have to wait for another movie.
'Freezer' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. For some reason, the start of this film has a bit of banding and digital noise plaguing the image. But after the first couple of minutes, it all disappears and we get a solid video presentation. The detail is very sharp, with well-defined textures and good closeups that reveal some scars, wrinkles, and makeup blemishes.
The colors are well saturated but do not pop off the screen. There seems to be a muted hue over everything to make the image more gritty, like its storyline. The black levels are deep and inky, but in the darker scenes, they get a bit lighter. The skin tones are natural and smooth. For a direct-to-dvd movie, this video presentation is just fine.
This release comes with a strong lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix. I was surprised at how good it sounded. Being set in one room, I didn't think there would be a whole lot of sound from the surrounds, but fortunately for me, there was. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. The sound effects are full and robust with every kick and beating, sounding powerful.
The gunshots, freezer fans, and electrical sounds all sound great from the surrounds. You will feel like you are trapped inside the meat locker with McDermott, which may not be a terrible thing. The dynamic range is wide and this audio mix is free of any pops, cracks and hissing.
'Freezer' isn't the worst movie I've ever seen, but it isn't the greatest either. The story is riddled with too many surprises rather than good story structure and dialogue. McDermott is good in the film, and I want him to be in more action thrillers. The video and audio are decent enough here, with a couple of very short but sweet extras. If you're a fan of McDermott, then I imagine you'll be all over this release, but for the rest of us, this is a rental at best.