It happens every time. Some spoiled young people try to have some healthy outdoor fun — say, scuba-diving (2003's Open Water), or hiking the Grand Canyon (last year's The Canyon), or, in the case of Adam Green's nasty chiller, snowboarding — and, invariably, Mother Nature or Fate or a sadistic screenwriter turns it all into hell.
Here, two guys and a girl (Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, and Emma Bell) bribe a ski-lift operator to let them have one last ride, and they end up stranded in mid air halfway up the mountain. A storm is coming, the girl has to pee, and then things get much worse.
The concept is ingenious, if preposterous, and Green shows skill in making the most — or worst — of minimal resources. He also shows an insidious restraint, depicting some of the most heinous carnage only through sound effects and reaction shots. (As usual, I stopped having fun with the first graphic compound fracture.) Perhaps it's because the wind chill as I write is minus-11 degrees, but this just isn't entertainment I can warm up to.
Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article, the movie Open Water was incorrectly cited as Dark Water. The correction has been made above.