And, I’m baaaack! Back from my Poconos vacation. It wasn’t all lounging in heart-shaped hot-tubs and taking pictures in giant champagne glasses, though, I brought my Final Girl Film Club homework with me. This month’s assignment was the Norwegian slasher-pic Cold Prey. Not only was the movie actually good, it was set on a frigid, icy, isolated mountain. It’s nice to think about that in the 90+ degree weather in the one room in my apartment with air conditioning.
Jannicke and Eirik, Ingunn and Mikal, and Morten are friends out for a day of remote snowboarding fun. It’s all fun and games and briefly like a Mountain Dew commercial until Morten–who I’ve mentally renamed as Ron Weasley because he’s a funny ginge–breaks his leg. It’s a compound fracture worthy of Frozen. They take shelter in an abandoned hotel that may or may not be as abandoned as it seems.
It’s a fairly standard slasher movie that follows certain slasher protocols but it still manages to be fresh and scary.
There are some things that set this movie apart from other slashers. The attention to photography was really good. The movie was full of beautiful shots of the isolated landscape, to emphasize how far from help the five friends are.
The characters do follow some slasher tropes but still manage to be likeable. Jannicke is the brunette final girl. She’s sensible but still manages to be fun. Plus, she knows that super glue can work in a pinch to close flesh wounds. It’s true! And now you know. Eirik is the strong, silent type. Ingunn is the bubbly blonde, so you know what’s going to happen to her but you like her enough to not want it to happen. She’s dating Mikal, the cool guy who has something of the Ashton Kutcher about him, circa That Seventies Show. And Morten is the funny guy, who has sweet chemistry with Jannicke, which makes things a bit awkward since she’s dating Eirik. This characterization also elevates Cold Prey above the frozen thriller Frozen.
The music is atmospheric but also original-sounding. It’s definitely not the usual Count Chocula music. It doesn’t descend into rock music video territory until the closing credits–that was kind of disappointing, as if the movie farted at me–and it’s thankfully short of shaky-cam techniques.
I think that the ambiguity of the situation at the hotel adds to the strength of the film. The viewer doesn’t catch a glimpse of the killer until the final 3/4th of the movie. But as the friends start to disappear, and as Jannicke investigates the history of the hotel, it seems like it could be something supernatural that’s picking off the friends. I also noticed some winks toward that other empty hotel movie, The Shining. Aside from the similar setting, there are these extended shots down the hotel’s hallway that include the ceiling and the floor in the shot. Kubrick used those shots in The Shining to create enhance the sense of claustrophobia in the viewer.
So, Cold Prey actually did manage to scare me. Although I was watching it alone at my mom’s house, deep in the woods with its Last House on the Left-esque isolation. And it also made me think of colder climes while writing this review, so I recommend it, while eating a snow cone.
P.S. There are two sequels.
Past Final Girl Film Club Selections
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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