Based on a serial-killer spree in Anchorage, Alaska, in the late 1970s/early ’80s, “The Frozen Ground” draws solid performances from an A-list cast but somehow falls short on terror. Writer/director Scott Walker is careful to maintain a dark, understated mood that blends in quite effectively with the bleak, wintry setting, but the story seems to suffer from symptoms of hypothermia — like everyone is just too cold to care much about the bunch of missing young women who turn up dead in the wilderness.
State trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) supposedly cares, because he’s seen one too many mutilated bodies, and catching the killer has become an obsession. Halcombe has a suspect: Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a family man respected in the local community. But it’s impossible to build a case against him without the help of the one victim who got away. Trouble is, Cindy (Vanessa Hudgens, “Spring Breakers”) is a teenage prostitute with attitude issues and the police have her down as a liar. It’s up to Halcombe to persuade her to work with him and nail Hansen before the next victim turns up. If only he could be a bit more enthusiastic about it.
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