Directed by Roar Uthaug (2006)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Sep 17 2009
This slasher was recommended to me by our friend Borp at the Horrorphilia Podcast. If The Thing taught me anything it's that Norwegians are perfectly at home in the snow and ice and this Norwegian slasher is no different. The flick centers around a group of college kids (?) who decide to head up to a mountain hotel retreat and spend the weekend snowboarding. During a bitchin' snowboard montage one of them breaks his leg. They take him to the hotel only to find it empty. Realizing that the nearest help is at the bottom of the mountain, they decide to spend the night before leaving the next morning. In the meantime, a giant with a pick axe is obviously pissed about all the damn snow and lamenting the fact that he isn't in America (I keed, I keed). Dude has issues and takes them out on our snowboarding Norwegians. Slashtastic!
If you like slashers, you'll like Cold Prey. It knows its genre and it does it well. Splattercast co-host Steve, a noted hater of the slasher film, is mostly correct in his criticism that all slasher films are, essentially at their core, "the same". Cold Prey isn't any different. Stick a group of mildly attractive young people in an isolated environment (mountain hotel), introduce a killer with a sharp object (pick-axe), and hack up everybody until the Final Girl ultimately gets her revenge. This flick is totally by the books and doesn't deviate from the standard slasher shtick. People like Steve will despise that. People like myself will give it a pass. Which is weird because slasher films seem to go totally against my personal rules for movies (that's an article unto itself; why people enjoy slashers in the first place). Anybody who hates slashers won't have a life-altering experience when watching Cold Prey. In fact, it'll probably reinforce their feelings.
However, just because the story has been done a million times doesn't mean that it can't be done effectively. This movie has some great cinematography and every horror fan loves snow. Seriously. Adding rain or snow to any horror film makes it a thousand times better by default. It's a rule. The characters aren't that interesting and I didn't give a shit about any of them but they show enough spunk and personality to break through every now and then. I have a theory that any horror film that includes a character with some sort of physical disability must have something going for it. Whether that character is blind or deaf or, in this case, has a broken leg, every single person viewing the film has that fear within them. Nobody wants to be blind, deaf, or even have a broken leg when some freak with a pick-axe is trying to kill them. This technique is most effective when the disabled character is likeable. The dude with the broken leg in this film fits the bill. He's a dork, but you're rooting for him to get through. Strangely, the film argues that a completely snapped leg can be no problem as long as an attractive girl super glues everything together. Dude was hopping around without even grimacing only hours afterwards! Maybe Norwegians are just badass.
I liked Cold Prey. There isn't an original thought in the entire damn thing, but it does what it does well. Beings that there are only five characters, there isn't a whole lot of death and destruction and the kills themselves aren't going to stick in your minds afterwards. The movie would have been a hell of a lot better if they hadn't revealed who the killer is because it's patently absurd. If the dude had just dropped that bitch down into the ice crevice and walked off into the snowy distance with the audience having no fucking clue as to who he was then the movie might have been certifiably badass. Instead, it ends just like every other slasher. Eh.
If you enjoy slashers, then definitely give Cold Prey a look. It's slick and adheres to the "rules" of the genre like nobody's business. If slashers ain't your thing then get your fix of Norwegians in The Thing. Besides, it's always great watching them blow their own helicopter up for being stupid. Yet another example of how awesome America is, and how ridiculous Scandinavia is :)