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Cold Prey (DVD)

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4 Reviews

Genre: Horror / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Roar Uthaug / Actors: Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Viktoria Winge ... / DVD released 2007-10-29 at Metrodome Video / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    4 Reviews
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      06.03.2010 12:59
      Very helpful



      Norwegian horror!

      Five friends take a trip into the snowy mountains of Norway for a snowboarding break. Unfortunately, Morten has an accident and breaks his leg. The other four manage to fashion together a sled and pull him towards the only building in the area, which happens to be a deserted hotel. Jannicke, who is Eirik's boyfriend, manages to patch him up, and they prepare to stay the night, until someone can go and get help the next day. Ingunn and Mikal disappear into a more private part of the hotel. The next morning, Eirik goes for help, while Jannicke discovers blood in Ingunn's room and no Ingunn in sight. Slowly, they begin to realise that they are not alone in the hotel and that all of them are at risk. Will any of them manage to escape in time? Will Jannicke help Morten with his broken leg?

      In many ways, this is a very ordinary horror - it involves a group of young people in a desolated spot where there just happens to be a nutty serial killer at large, the only immediate difference is that it is in Norwegian and therefore subtitled. However, this film has one enormous advantage over others of its ilk - some effort has been put into the characterisation and, as a result, the viewer actually comes to care about what happens to the group. This characterisation is very subtly done, primarily in the hint of a romance between Morten and Jannicke, although Jannicke is obviously with another man. However, she clearly cares for Morten very much and Morten is deeply in love with her. Even better, they seem like great people, not the sort of teenager that you are almost glad to see die horribly. It's a simple tactic, but one I wish a lot more directors of horror films would take on board.

      Although there are five friends, there are really only two of them that make an impact on the film - and that is the aforesaid Jannicke and Morten. Jannicke is played by Ingrid Bolso Berdal, and, in many ways is the leader of the group. Certainly, she is the most sensible one, the only one who seems to know what to do with Morten's broken leg. She also has the most screen-time, and so we get to see her run the whole gamut of emotions - something that she does very competently. Refreshingly, she is not a blonde, big-breasted babe, nor was she vacuous, which has to be unusual for a horror film. I also liked Rolf Kristian Larsen as Morten - again, he's a sympathetic character, but Larsen is also a decent actor, making the pain from his broken leg seem all too realistic - it certainly made me cringe more than once.

      The fear factor is very well developed overall. It isn't anything out of the ordinary - it's a group of people being scared out of their wits in an enclosed space - but it's nevertheless nicely done. The hotel, having been deserted for 30 years, is full of bits and pieces of past lives, including newspaper articles on the family of a missing boy - apparently the hotel was closed because of this boy, the son of the manager. How this fits in with the predicament that the friends find themselves in isn't really clear, but it does set up the scene for potential intrigue. It sounds reminiscent of The Shining, but really it is only the fact that both stories took place in desolated hotels in the snow that makes it similar. Certainly, this hotel isn't a patch on the beauty of The Overlook.

      There are some fairly gory moments throughout the film, but it is all mainly in the form of what might happen next rather than what does actually happen. There are a few nasty moments that will make the uninitiated cringe - stabbings and dead bodies etc - but actually, the worst moment for me was seeing Morten's broken leg bone poking out of his leg. The rest of it is fairly mundane for anyone who is used to horror. Of course, the five friends split up on a regular basis, even though everyone knows people in danger should stick together - but I wasn't really expecting anything else. There is a rating of 15 on the film. What I did particularly appreciate is the way that the killings take place in the midst of such pristine snow - it all seems so beautiful and calm that the horror that takes place is all the more chilling for it.

      When the killer is unmasked, towards the end, and we begin to piece together what may have happened, I expected the film to end there, or suddenly change tack in a ridiculous way - so many films of this type seem to end with the suggestion that it was all a dream, for example. However, the ending is quite good because right up until the last minute, I was unsure what was going to happen. And when it finally did happen, there is still a doubt left in the mind - this is obviously to prepare the viewer for the sequel, which has already been made (this film was made in 2006, the sequel in 2008), and I look forward to watching it at some point.

      There aren't, unfortunately, any extras with the DVD. The film is in Norwegian, with subtitles, but I can honestly say that I barely noticed - the emphasis is very much on the action and the characters do occasionally lapse into English anyway.

      I was impressed by this film. I've seen so many horror films that I am rarely impressed these days, yet although this one isn't entirely original, it did have its moments of brilliance. Best of all, for me, I really wanted the two main characters to survive - they appealed to me as characters and the actors managed to give convincing performances as well. It is a decent length - long enough to build on the characters, short enough to tell the story without becoming boring. I suspect many people will be put off by the fact that it is subtitled, but that really would be a shame, because it is worth watching. Four stars out of five.

      The DVD is available from from play.com for £13.99, BUT you can buy it with Cold Prey 2 for just £5.99. The Norwegian name is Fritt Vilt.

      Classification: 15

      Running time: 97 minutes


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      • More +
        11.01.2010 11:08
        Very helpful



        Well worth a watch for the originality and acting qualities and the suspense.

        With the snow tightly hugging the walls of my house, and icicles clinging to the boot of our car, its wheels firmly rigid in the deep compacted snow, we decided to cuddle up and watch a film that I bought some years ago-Cold Prey.

        This Norwegian film called in the original language "Fritt vilt" was released for UK viewing in 2006, and tells the story of a group of young friends, two couples and one single, who go to the remote slopes in Norway to snowboard.

        Erik played by Rolf Kristian Larsen is the singleton and keen snowboarder amongst them, and he is the enthusiastic leader of the group. In the car as we journey through magnificent scenery, you get an insight into the relationship between the couples, which is delicately done, just enough so you can identify with them as individuals, which with later additional details and scenes, ices the cakes on their interwoven lives, so that you actually start to feel an affection for them. Ingunn (Viktoria Winge) and Mikal (Endre Martin Midtstigen) are madly in the first throws of love, and Eirik (Tomas Alf Larsen) and Jannicke (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) are at a crossroads in their relationship frightened of commitment.

        Directed by a Norwegian man Roar Uthaug, this film is certainly worth watching if you enjoy horror films, as it is in my opinion expertly made, and goes beyond the basic slash horror movie by a mile.

        As the day unfolds and snowboarding offers the group an amazing day in a landscape to die for, Morten Tobias one of the group suffers a serious accident and is unable to carry on, forcing them to seek shelter in a remote and deserted mountain hotel.

        Here trouble begins, but not before they enjoy a great night in sampling old alcoholic beverages left behind from the hotel's hay day in the 1970's. Morten, his wounds attended to, takes up residence on the settee, and the others explore the dilapidated corridors and rooms, discovering an old generator which soon gets powered up offering them light.

        Sadly this is the start of a night of horror, and to elaborate further on the night's events would be to spoil what I feel is a superbly acted and directed series of events, which captivates the watcher from beginning to end, leaving no opportunity for boredom, but not so fast moving as to be ridiculous.

        The director has the pace of this film set just right as events unfold with a chilling and macabre theme, but there is time to reflect and ponder, which heightens the intensity of the film, building all the time to an unpredictable climax.

        Rooms are uncovered, details of a missing child in newspaper cuttings in old dusty drawers, remnants of clothing and accessories in large numbers, and eventually a basement den where evidence of occupation reveals they are not alone......

        What I really liked about this film is that despite having subtitles, which I must admit put me off watching it for ages, I should not have worried as this is no way detracts from the enjoyment of the film. Yes there is Norwegian dialogue all the time, but the characters are so well presented that you soon forget the film is not in your native language.

        It has elements of "The Shining" with the stunning white canvas and remote hotel location, but running through it is the Friday13th concept, yet I feel more expertly carried out. The setting creates a tense and claustrophobic ambience, which provides the ideal venue for this night of absolute terror.

        Early scenes of brutality focus only on the killer's body, which is fur cladded and wields a nasty pickaxe, he is slow moving though, so the action really happens through suspense rather than anything fast- moving.

        Early on in the film a hint of missing people on the slopes is mentioned, and this comes back to haunt you as more evidence is found by the group suggestive that the hotel may have a very sinister past.

        The acting is actually superb and each character is played well, and a convincing performance in particular by Ingrid Berdals as Jannicke warrants praise, as she becomes the group's leader and shows emotion as well as drive and ingenuity.

        In conclusion I would say this is a chilling movie which will certainly entertain (if that is the right word!), it evokes fear with ease, and the scenic setting leaves you as cold and isolated.

        Yes this genre of film has been done to death over the years, but with its simplicity, and setting, this film, I feel, goes someway beyond the predictable, entering the world of the desperate, through the doors of the remote wooden hotel buried deep in the Norwegian mountains.

        Available on Amazon for £3.99. Be careful there is a part 2 now also available which continues the story.............

        Also posted on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.


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        • More +
          02.03.2009 22:38



          The serial killer in the snowy deserted area

          Five friends were going to have a ski in the mountain. Everything went well until one of them broke his leg in the middle of the game. The fun ended, the had to find a shelter and they ended up in the old abandoned hotel. They didn't realize that something was wrong until one by one they're missing and the huge guy with the huge icepick walking around the hotel killing people.

          I bought this movie after I missed the performance in the horror movie festival. The idea of deserted area, the serial killer who lives alone in the abandoned place like that was nothing new for me. What makes it different was the snow, and this was a Norwegian movie.
          Despite of the not-so-original storyline and plot, I like the excitement and the thrill of this movie. There were lots of shocking scenes, the unpredictable twist in the plot, and lots of blood. And of course, subtitles, I needed it because it wasn't spoken in English.
          The casts were nice, I don't know any of them but they acted really great and very natural.

          Overall, this movie was fine. I like watching this movie but I don't think I would re-watch it again. If you like something like 'deserted area serial killer' you might love this movie as well.


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          18.11.2008 14:07
          Very helpful



          A warming tale of nice folk being murdered

          This is a review of Fritt vilt, a Norwegian horror film from 2006 that was more recently released in the UK under the name Cold Prey.

          Eirik, a keen snowboarder, decides to take four of his friends for some extreme action down some of Norway's most breathtaking slopes. It isn't long before one of them, Morten Tobias, runs into trouble and incurs a nasty leg injury. Unable to walk very far, Tobias's four friends look for shelter and find a large, abandoned hotel deep within the snowy hills. Once there, they manage to get the old generator going and despite the severity of Tobias's injury, the group remains in high spirits. But the old hotel yields dark secrets. The young friends are not quite as alone as they first thought......

          Norwegian film director Roar Ulthaug's fourth film has garnered something of a cult status with horror film fans. Ulthaug's back-to-basics take on the stalk and slash film genre has awakened a new fondness for the material, as the film's unlikely Scandinavian heritage helps boost a new-found horror renaissance from European film makers. Suddenly, it's the Brits, the French, the Spaniards and now the Norwegians who are showing America how to make scary movies.

          Ulthaug doesn't do anything particularly spectacular here. In many ways, Cold Prey is just as full of clichés as any one of its American counterparts. Huddled away in the middle of nowhere, with no means of contacting the outside world, one of their number stricken down with a serious injury the five friends find themselves victims of an unknown killer. The set-up doesn't sound terribly original, but there's something about Cold Prey that starts to make your blood run colder than the snowy woodlands surrounding our unfortunate heroes.

          For starters, we're presented with five young people that we would probably like to meet. Two couples and one single, there is a genuine, gentle banter about the group that betrays a much deeper affection than your average group of American high school students. There are still relationship issues, but when Eirik misreads the signs from his girlfriend, we're just as gutted as he is because we actually quite like him. There are no stupid jocks, no Paris Hilton wannabes and no wise-cracking jokers here, which means that when the blood starts to flow, we really don't want to have to look.

          The setting is excellent too. Admittedly, it steals heavily from The Shining, the huge, sprawling wooden hotel almost crying out for Jack Nicholson's lunatic touch, but without any suggestion that anything supernatural is going on, the place takes on a very different meaning. It's extremely authentic; you really will believe that Eirik and his friends have stumbled across an old hotel and the sheer scale and isolation of the place make it inherently frightening. Curiously, and quite atypically, the director never really turns the location against the five friends though. Indeed, the hotel offers a hiding place, a respite from the lunatic in the basement, for all the good it will do them.

          The back story is kind of predictable but interestingly comprised. Newspaper cuttings found stuffed in a drawer betray a macabre history of the hiding place, with reports of missing persons, unsolved crimes and a "hotel from hell" label that takes on increasing significance. Flashbacks in the film's early stages suggest something nasty happened here but the reveal doesn't come until right at the end when it has just the right amount of impact for the writers to get away with it. The explanation is, arguably, a little too complete but the neat narrative is at least quite satisfying.

          The film isn't the most horrific you'll find by any measure. There are scenes of violence, but nothing to push this above its 15-certificate**, with the director instead opting to try and terrify us through suspense and ordeal. He's reasonably effective. The film's first demise is terrifying stuff, as the four survivors remain blissfully unaware of their friend's fate. This is another area where Ulthaug dispenses with genre convention. The friends aren't separated through stupid convenience; their actions generally make sense and seem "real". The terrible significance of a bunch of keys is used in a number of places throughout the film's running time to heartrending effect.

          Although subtitled, the film's European dialogue means that English audiences will still "feel" the same way, even if they have to read words on the screen to understand exactly what someone is saying. The Norwegian dialect shares the same intonation and emotion as English, which lends the film a universal language. When people are happy, it's pretty obvious they're happy whatever language they speak, and the same is true when people are terrified out of their wits.

          The intimate cast works well here, with strong relationships developed and developing between a number of the characters. Ingrid Berdals lead as Jannicke is very strong, as her role as the group's natural leader seems to pit her into the worst of things. Her affection towards her friends is, eventually, heartbreaking but she doesn't play the hapless female either. Tomas Alf Larsen is hugely likeable as Eirik, something of an antidote to the rather unpleasant Mikal (Endre Martin Midstigen) but it has to be said that the whole lot are very pleasing on the eye.

          Criticisms of Cold Prey are most likely to come from those who just don't like the whole stalk and slash genre, as this is unlikely to convert serial disapprovers but there is much to like here. Ironically, it's the ice-cold freshness about the thing that makes this surprisingly frightening and reminds us that when we see people we genuinely like in genuine trouble it can be genuinely unsettling.


          ** I should point out that the picture here on Dooyoo indicates that this is an 18-certificate but can confirm that the disc is actually a 15-certificate. Presumably, the picture was made available before a final certificate was issued.


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