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Freeze Frame (2004)

DVD Cover (First Look Home Entertainment)
Director:
John Simpson John Simpson
Starring:
Lee Evans Lee Evans
Sean McGinley Sean McGinley
Ian McNeice Ian McNeice
Colin Salmon Colin Salmon
Rachael Stirling Rachael Stirling

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Paranoid Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
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Review by Chad
Added: January 28, 2005
Sean Veil (Lee Evans) was wrongfully accused of murdering a mother and her twin daughters in what become known as the Jasper Family Killings. He barely managed to beat the trial, thanks only to some illegal entrapment techniques used by the prosecuting detectives. As one could imagine, these events left Sean just a bit paranoid, so he sets out to come up with a way to cover his ass every second of every day... he videotapes his entire life, every last moment of it, figuring that he could just whip out the appropriate tape if he's ever wrongfully accused of something again. On the tenth anniversary of the murders, Saul Seger (Ian McNeice), the forensic pathologist that accused Sean of the murders, is about to release a book detailing the murders and his theories behind it. Of course, this upsets our hero a bit, so he sets out to have a few words with the man while recording every moment of it. Security ends up kicking him out of the building with the quickness, and waiting outside for him is news-reporter Katie Carter (Rachael Stirling). She wants to discuss the murders, saying that she has reason to believe that Sean was not responsible. One thing leads to another, and the couple ends up back at Sean's house. As they're discussing things, detectives Emeric (Sean McGinley) and Mountjoy (Colin Salmon) show up... the same detectives who were involved with the Jasper murders. They claim that a murder occurred back in 1995, and some new-found evidence proves without a doubt that Sean was the murderer there. Of course, Sean was recording his life at this point in time, so he goes to grab the tapes that will prove his innocence... only to find that they're the only missing tapes from his incredibly well-organized video library.

As I saw this sitting on the new-release section of Netflix, I wasn't quite sure whether or not to give it a chance. We've got a stand-up comedian in the lead role of what seems to be a serious film, we have a plot that could have wound up being strictly by the numbers and unoriginal, and all of this is wrapped up in the shell of a low-budget direct-to-video movie. However, I'm quite glad that I did decide to put this in the Netflix queue and have it show up in my postal box, because it turned out to be an excellent movie amidst the sea of repetitive thrillers that Hollywood seems to be churning out lately. As one would expect from a thriller of this type, there's a number of twists to be found throughout the wonderfully-crafted storyline that is to be found here. Those twists were also very nicely done... as the movie progresses, you, the viewer, will most likely have your own ideas of what's going on in this storyline, only to have those guesses shot down in a matter of minutes when one of the twists pop up. The director did a good job in building up each of the characters involved, leaving the viewer guessing as to what's going on right up until the closing scenes. This definitely isn't one of those movies that you'll have figured out midway through, which was quite refreshing. The way that this movie was another thing that was excellently done... the lighting, the set range of colors that the scenes appear in, the camera angles, and almost everything from the visual side of things came out looking great.

Lead man Lee Evans (Sean) was the other shocker here. The man is a stand-up comedian, and while he does have a fair number of movies under his belt, the only ones I recognized were your typical Hollywood comedy films that he had bit parts in. So, I think it goes without saying that when the man pulled off a stellar performance in this film, I was more than just a bit shocked. Without ever going over the top in his performance, he pulls off the role of an obsessive-compulsive and quite paranoid fellow with ease. Normally, these types of characters come off as being extremely fake and therefore boring when shown on screen, but Evans played the part to perfection. Ian McNeice (Saul) also pulled out a great performance here, playing the role of a pathologist determined to pin the blame on Sean as convincing as one could expect. The rest of the cast either fell into average range of acting abilities, or didn't get a whole lot of screen time. I won't point out who landed in which category, as that would tend to spoil things a bit... but I'm sure that you'll figure it out if you view this movie.

Overall, this is definitely worth the viewing if you're a fan of thrillers in the style of Saw, Secret Window, or The Ring. 8/10 from myself.
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Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 04/07/2008, 08:49 PM
I absolutely loved this movie. I watched it quite awhile back, not really knowing anything about it and it really jumped out at me. I thought it was really well done, had a great story, and it was an all around smart film.
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