Sunday, March 3, 2013
Blood Runs Cold: Cold Prey (2006)
starring: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen
Was there a good reason to call this movie a perfect example of a slasher film done right? Is the movie's simplistic plotting enough to elevate any fans of the sub-genre into accepting it? Is the victim count of possible six enough to create a satisfactory bodycount?
Yes. Yes. And Yes.
We open with a child with an unusual birthmark over his left eye being pursued by someone obscured. The boy slips off a cliff soon after and gets stuck on a bank of snow, wherein he in process gets buried alive as the chaser began kicking in more of the white stuff.
Skipping into 2006, where five backpackers in a winter trip visits the some snowy mountains to snowboard until the sun sets. We got two couples and one jokester, so I was pretty skeptical whether such low possible kill count would even work, but after a snowboarding accident left one of them crippled, the teens are now left in the white, mountainous wilderness, close to nightfall, at the verge of an incoming snowstorm, much to have me watching in complete interest to what will happen next.
Luckily for these kids, they spot an abandoned hotel in the middle of the mountains, apparently the home of the chased boy in the opening; With beds to sleep in, a stocked freezer and fire to warm them for the night, the group decided to stay in the night and get help when morning comes, or least until the snowstorm subsides. But one superglued wound and bickering couple later, the thought-to-be isolated motel didn't turned out to be that isolated before. Someone inside, armed with a pickaxe, isn't happy with their company. In fact, he has a point to make through with all of them, one swing and hit at a time...
Snowbound slashers like Ghostkeeper, Satan's Blade and Iced provided us big possibilities on making winter wastelands a great premise for a cat-and-mouse game; the only catch was how effective the movie's direction to make it work. Cold Prey is Norway's answer to this, taking some cues on a wide variety of snowbound horror movies other than slashers alone. The movie's secondary location, a run-down, isolated motel, is an obvious shout-out to Kubrick's The Shining and interestingly managed to capture the sense of dread and tension Kubrick's movie have, as Cold Prey played around with a low cast number pitted against an unseen foe in a territory they're unfamiliar with, thus leaving many open spots for the killer to strike.
True enough, the killer begins to kill them off one by one after an hour mark or less, with the first third focusing more on building around the characters for us to familiarize. It actually works, but Cold Prey's little mistake is that while development calls for some pacing so we can catch-up, by the time the killings began the film still drags along, probably to build suspense, but it never matches the mood of the hysterics and mayhem the killer's causing.
But all in all, Cold Prey's still made it through as a throwback to the basics of what makes a slasher film good. The killer's menacing with his mute persona and hulking appearance, donning a ski-mask, goggles and one thick fur coat while brandishing a mighty and tainted pickaxe; with very little known origin adding to his enigmatic existence. Murders aren't as gory, however, but it is bloody enough to provide a satisfied slasher fan. There's a "twist" in the end, but it makes as much sense as the so-called "twist ending" from Russia's own Trackman; where it reveals something that hardly cracked any mystery from the actual movie itself.
1 female hacked to death with pickaxe
1 male snared with bear trap, neck broken
1 male pickaxe through the back, exit to chest
1 male pickaxe to the head