People often work hard and persistently to get what they want in life, even if it means putting their lives in danger, and pushing their endurance to come up with creative solutions to their problems. That’s definitely true with both the characters and filmmakers of the new independent action thriller, ‘Freezer,’ which will be released on Long Island tomorrow on DVD. Not only do the characters manipulate and physically fight each other to gain the upper hand in their dire situation, but director Mikael Salomon inventively found others ways to visually convey the challenges the characters are forced to overcome in order to save their lives
‘Freezer’ follows the slick and wisecracking Robert (Dylan McDermott), a seemingly average working middle-class man who is surprised to find himself locked in a mysterious industrial freezer. After remembering that he was attacked and kidnapped from a restaurant bathroom during a date celebrating his birthday, he quickly unbounds his hands and feet to assess his chances of survival in the freezing temperature of his new prison. Robert’s soon confronted by two Russian bodyguards, Stepan (Milan Malisic) and Kiril (Andrey Ivchenko), who must question their hostage about eight million dollars that disappeared from the Mafia’s possession.
The woman accountable for locating the missing money, Alisa (Yuliya Snigir), is desperate to find it before the blame is placed on her boyfriend, who’s the son of a Russian crime boss. Robert continuously declares his innocence to his tormenters, and tries to flirt his way out of the freezer with Alisa. When she denies his repeated pleas for help, Robert is left to form an escape plan on his own. In the process, he’s shocked to find Sam (Peter Facinelli), a wounded undercover police officer, hiding in the freezer with him, who’s clinging onto life after his real identity was discovered by Stephan and Kiril. Robert must decide whether he’s going to help save Sam during his escape attempts, or only protect himself from his increasingly determined fate.
Salomon cleverly cast McDermott as the arrogant, smug anti-hero, who intriguingly played on the unwarranted, conceited belief that Alisa would instantly play into his flirtatious nature, and immediately decide to save his life. The actor effortlessly played Robert as not totally being concerned about the fact that his was almost surely going to end, despite the growing dire situation he finds himself in with the two bodyguards.
McDermott instinctively infused the character with a natural cunning nature and cavalier attitude about being held hostage, and the extreme likelihood that he was going to die in the freezer, which helped add to the believability that he would use his charm to try to persuade Alisa to save him. The two co-stars also smartly focused on the Mafia leader’s growing resistance towards harming Robert. He smartly tried to emotionally connect with her through his appeals of what their relationship could be like outside the freezer, if she garnered the courage to distance herself from the Mafia.
With the majority of the action thriller taking place in the industrial freezer, production designer Ken Rempel creatively used the relatively small place to his advantage. He set up distinctive racks with various meats and cooking supplies into rows, so that Robert would have various places to hide from his pursuers throughout his impromptu prison. The freezer, which is also cluttered with boxes, provides ample backgrounds for Robert and his attackers to be set against, so viewers don’t fully feel emotionally confined by looking at only one area. But Rempel’s skillful design also allowed audiences to understand Robert’s need and desire to leave the freezer. The wavering protagonist not only set out to physically protect himself, but also to regain emotional control of the situation, so that he could undermine Stephan and Kiril’s drive to kill him.
Since the film does take place over the course of only night in the title location, Mary Hyde-Kerr, the key costumer on ‘Freezer,’ also infused the thriller with spontaneous, intriguing clothing changes. Robert changed his outfit several times throughout the course of the film, after exchanging attire with people he encounters to try to trick Stepan, Kiril and Alissa, in an effort to escape his wrongful imprisonment. From assuming the tattered jeans and coat Sam was wearing to changing into the sleek suit of one of the bodyguards’ Mafia associates, who also tried to coax Robert into revealing where he hid the money, the prisoner ingeniously thought to try to disguise his look to trick his detainers, and find an escape route.
‘Freezer’ is a clever independent action thriller that creatively fused together its visual effects with the cunning relationships that quickly form between the troubled anti-hero and his vicious captors. McDermott and Snigir formed an enticing cat-and-mouse relationship between Robert and Alissa, tempting the question of what they could have meant to each other if they met under different circumstances. Their cunning association, in conjunction with the small, but well used space of the freezer, and Robert’s imaginative outfit changes, showcased how the anti-hero and his antagonists continuously worked to trick each other, in order to get what they wanted.