Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not your average snowboarding holiday...

Cold Prey is a 2006 Norwegian horror movie (with the correct name of 'Fritt Vilt') that I happened upon by seeing its trailer during some other random movie I saw. It looked interesting and even with subtitles I was game for a go.

I was pleasantly surprised, actually. It got me from the beginnning, and though it had many of the same elements of your average 80's slasher flick, I still wanted to see where it was going.

It starts out with two couples and a spare, on their way to a backwoods snowboarding trip. This had to actually be filmed in Norway or the likes, as the scenery was gorgeous.
So they are having a great time on the slopes, letting loose, etc... and of course one of them (the fifth wheel) gets hurt. I'm talking breaks his leg-compound fracture- hurt. Not good.

So what happens next? As easily anticipated, they load the guy on a sled (where it came from I don't know, because they supposedly were miles from the car, and had been snowboarding - so generally it would be considered a burden of sorts to snowboard with a sled on your back, right? But same goes for the skis & poles they seemed to pull out of their ass later...) Anyway - they load the helpless chap up and start walking and they luckily (?) come upon a ski lodge.
Upon further inspection they realize it is mysteriously abandoned (even though there is still lots of booze to get drunk on inside). They break in so that they have shelter for the night, intending to walk out in the a.m. to find help for broken-leg dude.

The usual horror movie tactics follow: investigate the deserted old place, find some strange artifacts and newspapers telling the history of the place, drink excessively, leave a few people alone to get their groove on, gruesome murders start....with a pickaxe no less.

In detail: they start a fire in the fireplace and set the hurt guy up on the couch after splinting and supergluing his compound fracture shut (!), then three of the group start investigating the old place while the lead chick stays with Fracture-Frank...
The three amateur detectives find a burned out room (which happens to be ROOM 237 - apparently an homage to 'The Shining'... I don't miss anything) and wonder just what happened there. Later, two of the three set up shop for the night in one of the rooms but when the horndog tries to have sex with the virgin, she shuts him down and he gets pissed, leaving her alone to be the first victim. Didn't you just see that coming?

Then it turns into a pick-one-at-a-time-off kind of movie, which is nothing new, but to be honest there was really a fair amount of tension while waiting for each to meet his maker. The lighting and atmosphere really lent alot of uneasiness and apprehension. The pacing was great, just enough time to get invested in the well-being of the five friends, then the mayhem starts.

Of course being Norwegian, it was subtitled, but as I've said before, I don't have much problem with that. And the acting was pretty satisfactory, as I came to actually give a crap about each character - as typecast as you'll notice they all are.

The 'monster/killer/freak' was nothing really special, but he had his own backstory which was party indecipherable due to the fact that the movie was foreign - there was a part early on in the film where some of the group finds newpaper articles describing a series of events at the hotel that obviously give cause to our killer and apparently the reason for the desertion, but unfortunately whoever was subtitling for us silly Americans felt it unnecessary to subtitle the newpaper headlines, so we are left to guess what is going on -(the only bad part about the fact that it's a foreign film).

Usually when I see a movie advertised in a trailer or in Fangoria or Rue Morgue that I have never heard of, I am always wary, but sometimes I can be pleasantly surprised, which was the case here. Like I said, there is nothing new here - nothing you haven't seen in say, Wrong Turn (from which I found several similarities)... but it was remarkably free of CGI (always a plus these days) and the whole pickaxe thing hasn't been done (at least not well) since My Bloody Valentine.

I'd have to say check this out. It appears a sequel was out 10-10-08 but I'm not sure if that was at the theater or on DVD. Part 2 is not on yet The website below has the trailers for both- they are not subtitled, but you can certainly get the jist.

Good stuff.

Fritt Vilt/Fritt Vilt II

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