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Cold Prey: Resurrection (2008)
Director: Mats Stenberg

review by Paul Higson

The 2006 Norwegian horror film Cold Prey (aka: Fritt vilt) did well internationally though largely by settling for a DVD shelf life. Scandanavian horror films are still a rarity despite the opportunely chilly geography one would assume beneficial as a backdrop to fraught circumstances. Blood Tracks was over 20 years ago with a mountain-man cannibal serial killer working his way through a rock band and their groupies, but that could hardly be blamed for the Norwegian film industry's slack attention to the horror genre. It could, however, have formed the basis of the new film series. Cold Prey was an efficient little thriller though no-one could hardly claim that it advanced the horror genre, not even in the threshing of a teens' sub-category.

Cold Prey nominally recognised a trick, by incorporating extreme sports into the plot as the boys and girls play hard in winter x style. The snowboarding is quickly abandoned when one of them suffers a very nasty break to his leg, and the group are forced into an abandoned lodge that is stylistically adrift to the 1970s. Winter X had been worked into a slasher flick more respectfully in the 2001 American horror film Shredder, and to greater effect too. X-treme sports and their many variants might, in the 1970s, have been capitalised on by exploitation filmmakers but this does not seem to be happening today. It is possible that outside of a few extreme sports they are seen as too obscure to honour them the attention, and it is left to action movies (and Bond) to ship in these quirky punk sports. The battered deco of the lodge, however, was a nice touch and was shortly to be picked up by Nimrod Antal's Vacancy also set in wretched and dated overnight lodgings (a motel).

Mats Stenberg's Cold Prey: Resurrection (aka: Fritt vilt 2) picks up immediately where film one left off and comparisons with the work of John Carpenter result. Halloween 2 and Assault On Precinct 13 are evoked (as is The Thing in some of the wider scenic shots) as the camera descends on a hospital to which the sole survivor of the killing spree is shortly to be transported. The hospital is closing down and is down to a skeleton crew of two nurses, Camilla (Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik) and Audhild (Johanna Morck), and one doctor, Herman (Fridtjov Saheim). They have only two patients, an old woman who has had a fall, and a boy called Darren, whose mother failed to collect him. Camilla's partner is Ole (Kim Wifladt) who seems to work in mountain rescue. He is disappointed to discover that Camilla has accepted a job in an Oslo hospital without discussing it with him beforehand. Ole has to jump to a report on an abandoned vehicle where he discovers Jannicke (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) in the road in a state of shock. At the hospital Jannicke recounts her story of the "snow monster that lives in a basement" to an audience of hospital staff and local police but no-one is quick to accept her version of events until they can be investigated. The Sheriff, Einer (Per Schanning) takes a team out to the scene find the corpses, including that of the mountain-man (Robert Follin). The dead are transported to the hospital, but how dead are the 'dead' in a chase and stab film?

While most of the local police force are wrapped up in the scene of the crime, and the Sheriff is investigating theories as to the identity of the killer, one spare rookie police officer, Sverre (Mats Eldoen) is left to protect the evidence and the scene is set for a night of horrors. Audhild is left to the unenviable task of undressing the bodies when she finds the killer's clothes stubborn. A yank and the skin tears off with them, exposing the flesh, having grown into the woollens. Taking a fresh stab at it the body kicks it into life and the team is alerted. Irrespective of his crimes, they are in the moment a response team and revive the body. The murderer is stabilised and it is not long before he is on the hunt again. Sitting up her grasps a handful of surgical utensils and leaves several tiers of slashes across his next victim's throat. Victim upon victim fall... At the same time others are bloodily lost, our two heroines, Camilla and Jannicke, act as a tag distraction team repeatedly rescuing each other. Ole and the remaining police go armed to the hospital but the mountain-man is doggedly insistent about not falling down.

Cold Prey: Resurrection (oh, could they not come up with a more exciting title) relaxes into familiar territory, free of postmodern japery and tapping instead into a historical slasher feel only with the modern benefit of HD details. Cold Prey: Resurrection looks fantastic throughout with thanks to Anders Flatlands' sleek cinematography. The camera coolly glides, will suddenly capture a shot from above, slip from close-up into long, and reward polished interiors with glacial sheen and dark corners with a frightening impenetrability. It is a film of textures and pallors. It is a film also of rhythm and beauty. If any fantastic theme festivals are still handing out gongs for cinematography then this film should collect. There is a sense of taking one's time but Stenberg does not fail to pepper the spaces with content. There are long introductions to characters and unusually there are no villains or assholes among them. This is an improvement on the smaller cast of unflattering youths we were forced to spend time with in the first film. This automatically improves the film as you warm to all the characters and their faults are human. Young people having sex in such films as this normally brings the scythe down on them, but the new losers in love barely see a flicker of a future romance before it is cruelly stunted. Several effective shocks and casual humour fills the time, but all positives are jostled a little by the obligatory acts of stupidity called upon by this subgenre in order to allow it to reach feature-length.

The screener sleeve mentions a Cold Prey boxset including both films and the disc opens with disclaimers on the commentaries contained but the disc under review included only the one film and a trailer. Neither film changes film history, but one is okay and the sequel is better, though neither is harmful viewing, particularly when they look as good as this.
Cold Prey Resurrection

Fritt vilt II

Read other reviews of -
Cold Prey
Cold Prey II



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