Freeze is a Korean television drama (K-drama) that comes from the South Korean television channel CGV and Yellow Films. The series is rather short for a K-drama, only five episodes and approximately five hours in length. It first aired in October 2006. Due to the short runtime, it does not develop its characters or build an intricate plot as other sixteen hour long K-dramas do. Still, the series manages to pack in a romantic love triangle, a fair amount of drama, and provides just the right amount of character detail.
The setting of Freeze takes place in a supernatural world, where vampires are common parts of society. They walk and live amongst humans. One such vampire is Baek Joong-Won (Lee Seo-Jin, Damo, Shoot For the Stars). Over three hundred and fifty years ago, he saved a woman named Lee E-Hwa (Son Tae-Young) from being killed by the crazed village people. Later, she had to turn him into a vampire to save his life. Since, Joong-Won and E-Hwa had been together. Now, in present day Seoul, they run a high-scale wine bar that specializes in French imports.
For many years, Joong-Won has been a cold and distance person, what he has become. He fell in love with a woman once, someone he could not tell the truth about his past or be with. When this woman was on her death bed, she sent Joong-Won a note, asking him to care for her daughter. The daughter is Jang Ji-Woo (Park Han-Byul), who seeks out Joong-Won after her mother's passes away.
At first Joong-Won is hesitant to let Ji-Woo into his life. He has been emotionally closed off for along time. Gradually, he lets Ji-Woo in and falls in love with her. His frozen emotional state begins to melt and he relearns what it means to love and be happy. But at the same time he struggles with the idea of love and who he is. He needs blood to live and it is not something he is proud of.
The love story between Joong-Won and Ji-Woo is the primary source of drama. It ties into a love triangle, as E-Hwa cares deeply about him. They have been together since she turned him into a vampire, but he has never reciprocated the love. Despite, she hopes he will and for that reason, she does not like Ji-Woo. Adding to the drama is a subplot about vampire who has been stalking and killing woman in the city. Inspector Jang is on the hunt and the trail takes him to Joong-Won, E-Hwa, and their friend Park Hyun-Joon.
As for the quality, Freeze has several positive qualities. The cast is great in their roles. The lead characters are especially done well. Lee Seo-Jin plays a cold, distance man who just looks sad, which is the perfect attitude for his character. Playing across from him is Park Han-Byul, who is an adorable young girl. She fits into her role as a troubled youth trying to overcome the death of her mother well. Son Tae-Young's character is not developed as much as the other two leads, but she still fits in nicely as the woman who is madly in love with someone who does not return the affection. She gives her character passion and anger when necessary.
The storyline was quite good and developed the primary characters well, revealing necessary background information as pertinent to the point in the story. However, at the same time the pacing was a little too slow for my tastes. There were several portions I felt it just took too long to accomplish a small advancement in storyline. Other positive aspects include how Freeze looks and sounds. It has beautiful cinematography; the movie in respect to characters, settings, and props look beautiful and fit the dark, somber mood of the story. The music is also quite strong and helps set the right atmosphere in each scene.
Overall, I enjoyed Freeze, but not on the same caliber that I enjoy soapy, melodramatic K-dramas. It is dark throughout with a somber tone and does not have the same peppy, happy melodramatic love story that I have become accustomed to in the majority of other K-dramas I have reviewed. Instead, Freeze has a solid story and intrinsic characters to make it intriguing.
This release is given in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color. The picture quality is excellent, providing a clear and clean picture with minor color distortions and compression artifacts. Both dark and bright colors are represented very well.
The audio is given in Korean 2.0 stereo sound. The track is dialogue driven and has limited use of the surround/stereo capability. The music sounds good; it is dynamic and vibrant. For non-spoken language options, there are English subtitles.
For extras, there are several interviews, behind the scenes featurettes, and a music video. The interviews include "Three Colors", which has three separate interviews with the lead cast Lee Seo-Jin (13:08), Park Han-Byul (12:51), and Son Tae-Young (11:08), and "About... Freeze", two separate interviews with director Jung Jae-Hoon (8:48) and music director Kim Yong-Hwi (7:35). The behind the scenes featurettes include "the Timeline of Freeze" (7:47), has behind the scenes footage of the cast and crew in pre-production and production, and "No Good but Good Stuff" (12:40), various behind the scenes footage (crew interviews, bloopers, filming, set creation, etc.) Lastly is a music video for "Fate" (4:03). The extras can be watched individually or all at once via the play all feature.
Freeze is a short K-drama about a loveless vampire who has suffered emotionally and decided it is best to be cold and distant. His life changes when he meets a human woman, the daughter of the woman he loved. He learns what it means to care about someone and live again. Coupled with a love triangle involving a female vampire and a subplot of a vampire serial killer, Freeze develops a dark and somber romance story that is unlike most K-dramas. The show does not get overly melodramatic, but has likeable characters and a good story, although it is slow at times. Overall, Freeze has the right qualities and it is a solid drama.