Cold Prey (2006) Dir. Roar Uthaug


The Thing without, er, the Thing. 
There’s lots of snow and a some tense teenagers, anyway…

What two things work best in horror films? What are the tricks that these films very, very often forget? Well, let’s try making the characters just a little likeable. It’s a stretch I know, but perhaps make them less like a bunch of whiny brats, and just show us a bunch of nice kids who you’re sorry to see go. Secondly, I think the biggest scares come in the anticipation – obscure our vision, keep the characters totally oblivious, and watch the terror roll in. Cold Prey excels in the two conditions above.

But, yes, there’s a girl in her undies being terrified…it IS still a horror film

Of course, it depends what you’re watching it for in the first place. If you want T&A and naked breasts and blood, then there’s a plethora of films out there promising just that. Not all of those are keepers, though.

Making a refreshing change from the usual, then, this Norwegian horror is pretty slick. It seems to have a decent budget (although not according to wikipedia), and although it was very cheap to buy, I was pleasantly surprised at how effective Cold Prey was. It keeps us guessing for the first hour, then the unease creeps in, then the bloody horror follows. It understands the power of hiding what’s around the corner, and keeping the reveal secret until the very end. It follows a few of the ‘slasher in the wilderness’ cliches, but the thick, unrelenting snow and the unusual setting – a Norwegian Overlook – is a good choice.

 The snow-swept, incredibly isolated setting adds to the fear!
And it looks gorgeous, too.

I enjoyed it, the subtitles seemed to disappear after a while, and I think being realistically terrified translates well in any language. This is an excellent horror with a little more to it than normal, without being annoyingly pretentious or boring. And it’s really not horribly gory. There’s enough to make it terrifying without being totally gratuitous. The worst  part is really the snowboarding injury that lands them in this mess to begin with. Costing barely a snip to buy, at least two good hours of terror await you!

Struggling to survive…

SPOILERS

I would have preferred to know more about what happened between the little boy going missing and the hotel being closed for so many years, and left with all its booze and power still attached. How does he survive out there? What happened? Perhaps these questions get answered in the sequel, which came with the first one in the boxset. I’ll have to watch it very soon and find out!

Terrific Scandinavian horror with non-annoying characters and a fearsome opponent.
A nice change of pace – and nope, I’m never ever going into an old abandoned hotel…

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