Newest Review: ... 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,... more
Cold Prey (DVD)
Member Name: sunmeilan
Cold Prey (DVD)
Advantages: Great characterisation
Disadvantages: Just not quite original enough
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.
Running time: 97 minutes
Summary: Norwegian horror!