Scott Walker makes his directorial debut with The Frozen Ground, a thriller based on the true story of an Alaskan serial killer who went on a killing spree in the early 80s.

The story follows Detective Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) as he puts plans to move away with his family on hold in order to get his hooks into Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a local baker and family man who he is convinced is responsible for a series of unsolved murders.

A teenage prostitute, Cindy (Vanessa Hudgens), manages to escape from Hansen's sadistic clutches, but her testimony against him is sneered at by local police officers, and he is set free to continue his brutal rampage.

Detective Halcombe is not so fooled by Hansen's nice-as-pie demeanour, and he believes Cindy is the key to proving Hansen's guilt.

Halcombe takes Cindy under his wing as he mounts an investigation into Hansen, meeting resistance from his superiors due to lack of evidence. Meanwhile, Hansen plots to kill Cindy, the only surviving witness to his terrible crimes.

The Frozen Ground is a perfectly acceptable cat and mouse tale that is partially let down by a lack of suspense. There is never any doubt over Hansen's guilt, which is confirmed to the audience from the get-go, while Hansen's hunt for Cindy never really gets off the ground like it should.

Cusack is restrained as the ice-cool serial killer, and although his performance is good, it's a bit one-dimensional, and the audience never really gets an insight into his motives.

Cage does well as the dogged cop who will stop at nothing to find justice for the murdered young women, while Hudgens completely sheds her Disney image as the hard-living prostitute, and is surprisingly convincing in the role.

A very watchable and interesting story, let down by a few minor flaws.

Sarah McIntyre