Here’s a fun drinking game to play while watching Cold Prey: drink every time you see something cribbed from another (and probably better) movie. Please, please do not do so unless you have a high tolerance, though, as you’ll likely be unconscious long before the end credits. Stop me when this begins to sound familiar: a group of friends is on a snowboarding expedition when one breaks his leg. Needing to find either shelter or help fast, they stumble upon a nearby abandoned ski resort and camp out for the night. Unfortunately for them, it’s not entirely abandoned – it’s home to a killer who is silently stalking them and picking them off one by one.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with covering the same ground others have already walked on; they’re not going to stop making slasher films just because we’ve exhausted all the remote locations and signature weapons. But if you want your movie to stand out, you’ve got to have something memorable in your movie, and Cold Prey doesn’t have anything all that interesting in it – the killer is some near-silent hulk, and there isn’t one sequence that makes an impression (death via pickaxe should be a lot messier). In the plus column, none of the characters are jerks who make you root for their death, although none of them really grew on me, either. Competence is an under-appreciated asset for a movie, but it shouldn’t be be its biggest.
Unfortunately, Cold Prey is also a slow movie – the first kill doesn’t take place until just under an hour into a 95 minute movie, which means there’s quite a bit of people wandering around an empty hotel and staring down dark hallways until then. Besides being not all that interesting, all this set up gives you time to pick holes in the plot. If, as the movie suggests, the killer has been doing this to many other groups of skiers for years, how has no one ever found this hotel and investigated it? Aren’t these people in the least bit concerned that the hotel has clearly been used since it shut down almost 35 years ago? (SPOILER ALERT) And why did the killer’s parents chase him over a cliff as a child, thus creating a future monster? It’s commented that he’s ‘ugly’ because of his birthmark, but it’s hardly unsightly, and as movie villains go, he’s a long ways from hideous.
This isn’t a bad movie – it’s perfectly serviceable, and I’ve seen many, many far worse films – but it doesn’t do anything do make itself stand out from 1,000 other slashers. Frankly, I expected something much more exciting out of a movie directed by a guy named Roar Uthaug. Apparently, Cold Prey was a huge success in its native Norway and all throughout Europe, even getting two sequels. Damned if I can figure out what all the fuss was about. If you watch this, you’ll have a difficult time remembering much about it a few days later.
This review is part of the Final Girl Film Club.