Cold Prey

| January 20, 2009

I’m all sorts of impressed by this week’s offering, folks, and as such, it’s my sacred obligation to fill you in on it. It’s called Cold Prey, and it’s a beauty of a slasher film.
Cold Prey represents part of a strange new development in the horror film market: namely, the entry of the Scandinavian market. Oh, sure, we’ve had bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, come out of Europe for quite some time but this is the first time that I can count off FOUR Scandinavian titles I’ve covered in as many months. There were The Substitute and Room 205, two Danish titles that were the strongest parts of the otherwise lackluster Ghost House Underground series (not to mention Dark Floors, which is Finnish, and the Finns do at least sort of count as Scandinavian) and now Cold Prey, which comes to us from Norway.
Cold Prey is a surprisingly claustrophobic little thriller about five friends out on a snowboarding excursion on a remote mountain. After one of them breaks his leg, the five find an abandoned ski lodge and take cover for the night. It’s surprisingly convivial cover–the diesel generator still works and there’s plenty of antique hooch lying about (at one point they find a thirty five year old cognac)–so they settle in for a night, or possibly two, of free and easy living. At least, until one of the five turns up dead. And from there it’s only a matter of time until we discover the truth behind the abandoned ski lodge…and its secret resident.
Claustrophobic, like I said–the whole thing, except for a few small buildup bits, takes place in a ski lodge. There are plenty of places to hide, but the group will never be more than a few dozen feet from the killer at any given time. Indeed, Cold Prey may well be one of the best slasher films there is simply because it’s done so well.
Sure, the first half is a little short on action. They’re setting up a LOT of dominoes that will be knocked down in rapid clacking succession by the end. And it’s fun watching these five fairly likable characters interrelate in a plush but still vaguely sinister environment. Once things get started, they will get started in EARNEST. Also, they will build plenty of suspense throughout as they start to cobble together these little bits and pieces about the history of the lodge they’ve taken cover in.
By the time they get down to the killing, you’re already at least a little bit on edge from the build-up, and I call that a success.
The ending will prove to be plenty of fun, including some really nice twist endings that actually have nothing to do with the killer coming back to life. A little spoiler, but man, I didn’t give anything serious away. You’ll get plenty of surprise out of this, guaranteed.
The special features include audio tracks in both English and the original Norwegian, English subtitles, bloopers, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, behind the scenes featurettes, two short films, and trailers for Cold Prey, Dead Space (both the game AND the cartoon), and Surfer, Dude.
All in all, Cold Prey is another solid hit from Anchor Bay (did I forget to mention that? Yeah, it IS.), who by now pretty much has to be considered the undisputable king of direct to video horror movie releasing.

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