Movie Review: Cold Prey

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Cold Prey aka Fritt vilt (2006)
Directed by Roar Uthaug
Starring Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Endre Martin Midtstigen, Viktoria Winge, Geir Olav Brath

This film is a perfect example of where you can have a story that isn’t the most original in concept, but is filmed in a way that it’s still very entertaining. The film deals with a group of people head off to a mountain to do some snowboarding. After one of them breaks his leg, they make their way to an abandoned hotel for the night. But once they are there, they realize they are not alone. But by then, it may be too late. A simple story that in the wrong hands, would just be another dime a dozen slasher films. But not here and not with director Uthaug.

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Really nothing new here folks.  But director Uthaug and his small cast give us enough suspense and great characters that we easily fall into the story that is unfolding before us. Even when the ending is revealed, which is no surprise to the viewer; it’s even a little confusing as to why the events of the prolog had happened. But I think that is where the strong point of this film lays, that even though it’s not original or makes much sense, the film still plays well enough to keep you entertained. And that is what it’s all about.

Ingrid Bolsø Berdal plays our heroine and does a fantastic job here. She is the one that takes control of the situation and is one strong character. Viktoria Winge also does a superb job here as well. We really feel for her during this movie.

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Director Uthaug does a very satisfying job of building suspense and tension throughout this film. With long darkened hallways, underground passageways, into even darker basement, is the perfect place for these types of suspenseful sequences. But he manages to bring that same tension and suspense even in the brightest of snow covered mountains. That is a talented craftsmen.

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Not sure what the budget was on this film, but they sure managed to make use of the beautiful landscapes that they were filming. There are a few wide panning shots showing the mountains and snow banks that are breathtaking. Of course, it always makes me wonder why someone would want to vacation there, but that’s just me. I’m happy with seeing them in movies!

Another high point of this film is the visual effects department. This is one of those films that you really don’t see where the visual effects department was even used. Sure, they may through in a little digital blood spurt every now and then. But when you watch the behind-the-scene sequence on the DVD, you will be amazed at what they do here. From something as simple to erasing dog shit in the snow, to taking off the running mascara off one of the leads because of continuity, they are amazing. They also show us how they can change the color scheme, bleeding some of the light and color out to make it look more effective. It’s one of those things that the viewer takes for granted, but have no idea the kind of work these people are doing. Major kudos to them.

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This is a Norwegian film that was very successful in its native country. So much so, that they’ve already made a sequel to it (which I highly recommend). As I’ve said, don’t watch this and expect anything that you haven’t seen many, many times before. But I think you’ll be surprised at how well crafted this film is done, taking something so very derivative of the slasher genre, but making it actually entertaining and well made. That shows the difference in having talent, both in front of and behind the camera can make. And Cold Prey is a perfect example of this.

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