Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cold Prey Review

I just got it from Netflix (I moved it up in my queue because of Johnny over at Freddy in Space) and watched it this weekend. I gotta say, foreign horror is where it's been at lately, especially those Europeans. I was anticipating it highly put it in my DVD player, eager to watch what was in store. And here's a summary of what I watched:

A group of 5 people set out to snowboard in the mountains, embarking on a long journey to find what are presumably the most "rad" and "bodacious" hills around (those words are still relevant, right?). One of the guys falls and breaks his leg, so they need to find shelter for him. Well, they happen upon an abandoned ski resort and find they can take shelter there for the night. Seems perfectly safe and sound, right?

Wrong! A killer stalks them one by one, picking them off (literally). As the killer whittles down the group, they try to find out who the giant man wielding the pick axe is and why he is trying to kill them. I wonder if they ever happen to find out the mystery or if any survive. On to the review!

Cinematography: I happen across another well shot horror movie! The camera work is once again very well done. Nothing particularly revolutionary, but the scenery is wonderful. The vast mountain expanses are captured quite well. You get a real sense from the very beginning of just how huge the scenery is and how isolated the characters are from everything else. The ski resort is amply well shot, with dizzying shots of the long hallways and the large open rooms they are in, making it hard to tell when/where the killer will appear. It earns itself a 4 out of 5 for Cinematography.

Execution: Well, a group of 20 something people going out to the middle of nowhere and being stalked by a killer is nothing new. It's a slasher flick. But it's a rather exceptional slasher flick. I will be the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of slashers, but this one is a well done movie. The characters are at the very least likable, though not original. You have 2 couples and the traditional single guy: lovable and funny, but single because he's a little nerdy and shy. You have one established couple and one new couple, nothing groundbreaking. But they are well acted and enjoyable, so it earns a respectable 3.5 out of 5 for Execution: better than average, but not exactly mind blowing.

Sub-genre Comparison: Unfortunately for Cold Prey, it falls into a category that is getting more and more bloated by the day, especially with remakes. As a modern slasher, the movie is better than almost any other slasher out there today. But I don't think it holds any weight to the heavy hitters like Halloween or Friday The 13th. But then again, what does? With so many slashers being done nowadays, it's hard to get anything exceptional. But like I said, compared to most recent slashers, this is head and shoulders above them. I don't know if it will be remembered like the big boys, but it will be in lists of gems to look for in the future. That's worth a 3.5 out of 5 for Sub-genre Comparison.

Production Value: This movie is going to hold up well. It's well shot, well acted, and all around well done. The gore and effects are pretty sparse (going more for blood than gore), but they're effective when they appear. The movie does like to use a lot of blood (the characters tend to bleed about 3 or 4 gallons worth and still manage to breathe), but what do you expect from a slasher? Realism is not the goal of the movie. The kills aren't anything inventive or special, but they work and you get to enjoy them. Overall, it earns a nice 4 out of 5 for Production Value.

Scares: Unfortunately, the movie isn't particularly scary. It's fairly tense, but never too terribly edge-of-your-seat scary. The killer is a decent character, but not particularly imposing or anything of that sort. As I said, there is a nice feeling of isolation, but it never gets to blossom into all out terror. The movie is pretty briskly paced once the killing starts, so maybe that's why (with only 5 characters to kill off, it's hard to space that out). It was okay though and scarier than a lot of other movies, so it's an average 3 out of 5 for Scares.

And with the final tally, Cold Prey ends up at a respectable 18 out of 25. The biggest thing it has against it is that it's a slasher and that makes it hard to score very well with me. But for a slasher to get above average (which would be somewhere between a 11 and 15, assuming 3 is average), I have to have liked it quite a bit. Cold Prey a very nice addition to the genre (which recently has relied on remakes and dull "original" ideas) and if I could find it for cheap, I would definitely buy it. My favorite part of the movie is definitely the scenery and shots, so I would probably buy it just for that. Overall, a good movie for horror fans!


  1. I will add it to my Netflix queue, as well. Seems like a good watch. Thanks for the review.

  2. Watched it after Johnny's recommendation as well and just finished watching it.
    Gotta say one of the best (new) horror movies I've seen in a long time. Really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone who can handle sub-titles.
    Good cast and use of music too.
    Hope the sequel lives up to the original.
    Just waiting for Midnight Meat Train to arrive in the post!

  3. Nice review Zach - I enjoyed this one as well!