Director – Roar Uthaug
Cast – Ingrid Bolse Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Endre Martin Midtstigen, Viktoria Winge, Rune Melby, Erik Skjeggedal, Tonje Lunde, Hallvard Holmen
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
For the past several years I have heard positive buzz about this Norwegian slasher film, as well as it’s sequel, “Cold Prey 2”, so I felt very obligated to give this one a watch…and I am glad that I did. It is nice to see a foreign country’s take on the iconic slasher genre that the US horror realm made so darn popular, and this flick managed to be a fun and very cool watch in the end.
This flick follows a group of five friends who go off on a snowboarding expedition over uncharted territory. The fun of this outdoor adventure is cut short when one of them suffers a broken leg after a nasty accident. The group decides to waive carrying their injured friend several miles to their vehicle and decides to spend the night in an abandoned hotel until they can find help the next morning. Unfortunately for the young snowboarders…this “abandoned” hotel is not abandoned. A brutal killer is residing somewhere inside the hotel, and as the body count rises the remaining friends must come up with quick and desperate ways to fend off this killer…or wind up like their dead friends.
For some reason, when I think Norwegian horror I think nothing but wide snow-barren landscapes…and that is exactly what we get in this film as well as another more recent Norwegian zombie flick, “Dead Snow”. I guess they do not have too many different landscapes in Norway, but this barren atmosphere works so it is fine by me. You know I am a fan of nowhere-to-run atmospheres, and a barren and possible sub-zero climate is definitely a nowhere-to-run atmosphere.
The storyline for this film is a cool one, especially because for the most part it follows the usual slasher storyline, which I found very enjoyable given this is a foreign film. I expected this flick to take the slasher sub-genre in a different direction, but it seems the filmmakers are fans of this iconic-sub genre and decided to keep things classic. We get the usual fun-loving and naive protagonists who are thrown for a loop when they see the horrific antagonist they are up against…which was awesome. I really liked the look of this slasher and can honestly say I have never seen one who looks like him. Why is that? Well, because this takes place in a very cold environment he was completely covered in animal skins and other various winter garments from head to toe. That is right, a “masked” killer who really doesn’t…wear a mask. It is creative, and I found it enjoyable.
Direction-wise Roar(yes, his first name is ROAR!) Uthaug did a fine job with this flick. The pacing was good, especially for a film in which nothing really “gets going” until 40 minutes into the runtime. From then on out this flick is a pretty action packed ride that surprisingly does not bring on as much gore as I expected, but was satisfying nonetheless. It is obvious this flick did not have a huge budget, which forced them to film the majority of this flick in that creepy old abandoned hotel…which is freakin awesome in my opinion. In horror, atmosphere is everything, and this flick has plenty of that.
There is nothing that I really did not like about this flick. If anything it could have maybe used a few more characters(which equals more kills, heh) and some added gore for the “fun” element, but there are no major problems from my experience with this flick.
Overall, this is a cool watch that I recommend to fans of the slasher sub-genre who would like to see the usual slasher story applied to a location that we very rarely see, if ever, in this iconic horror sub-genre. The kills are satisfying and the tension is there, so this flick deserves a watch.