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RATED Not Rated
STUDIO Shout! Factory
RUNNING TIME 86 Minutes
• Deleted Scenes
The non-union Norwegian equivalent of Halloween 2.
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Robert Follin, Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik, Kim Wifladt, Fridtjov Såheim
Having survived the hideous ordeal in the Jotunheimen mountains in which four of her friends were murdered, the badly injured Jannicke is brought to the local hospital, along with the body of the vicious mountain man whom she’d killed. But when she wakes up in the hospital, the building is dark and deserted… and she soon realizes that her nightmare is not yet over.
I first watched Cold Prey three months ago in anticipation of this review. I wanted to familiarize myself with the characters and setting so I would know what to expect going into Cold Prey 2 and be able to compare this movie to its predecessor as I know that anyone who is a fan of either movie is going to want to have done. I had heard pretty much nothing but positive things about Cold Prey and I’m always up for a good horror movie from another country so I sat down to watch it.
I did not dislike Cold Prey at all. That is the nicest thing I can say about it, which doesn’t sound so bad but is actually the most damning form of praise in existence. I found it watchable but it made no mark on me. The setting was something different, not a lot of horror movies take place in the snow which is a shame as its desolation makes for an eerie atmosphere and an interesting play on the “people get lost in the wilderness” model. The movie was beautifully shot, the characters were all three dimensional and real, and there was a great mystery surrounding the killer.
But three dimensional characters can’t discover their potential by just filling the same purpose as sad lazy slasher film archetypes, a unique setting isn’t so interesting when you spend the majority of the film wandering through the same under-lit hallways, and a mysterious killer doesn’t work when the mystery turns out to be so easily solved that someone watching would think the giant obvious clue as to the explanation is misdirection because it’s so blatant. Still, it’s very watchable and I can’t say it’s a bad movie; it just lacks ambition and charisma which is something fixed easily enough. Everything I’ve read tells me that Cold Prey 2 is better than Cold Prey; so is it?
Cold Prey 2 opens on a soon-to-be-closed hospital as the few doctors remaining on staff go about their daily routine. Camilla’s (one of the doctors) policeman boyfriend Ole goes off to investigate the abandoned car left by the group of people from the first movie. Upon investigating the scene he finds our heroine Jannicke wandering half-frozen down the road. She is taken to the hospital where she tells her story to the police and the bodies of her friends and the homicidal mountain man are removed from the crack in the glacier where she left them and taken to the morgue.
In the process of removing the many layers of the mountain man’s clothing, he begins breathing again and goes into convulsions. The doctors manage to resuscitate the mountain man. I feel like it’s important to note that Mountain Man has been impaled through the chest with an ice axe and thrown at least sixty feet down into a crack in a glacier where he has remained in arctic temperatures for at least six hours. Even if the nonsense explanation that the doctor gives for his miraculous survival weren’t a load of bullshit, Mountain Man’s gonna be pretty stiff and not really be up to moving around for a few weeks, so a one-man murdering spree in a mostly-abandoned hospital isn’t really in the cards.
Fortunately Mountain Man operates under movie killer logic and doesn’t so much as slow down in his furious and ferocious murders. He has to kill everyone in the hospital because… I don’t actually know; it’s not because of witnesses because he has to realize that not all the police are going to be at the hospital and Jannicke’s story is ridiculous in the first place, it doesn’t seem to be about revenge as Jannicke never really did anything to the guy to begin with, and it’s not so he can escape because there is literally nothing that would stop him from leaving. He’s just a huge dick who likes to kill people, apparently. Then the writers decide they want to go home early so they just write the plot of Halloween 2 and bam: Cold Prey 2.
The unanimous agreement with Cold Prey 2 is that it’s better than its predecessor and I can say that that is absolutely true; I just don’t think that’s a huge endorsement. As I said above there’s a lot to like about Cold Prey (Wrong Turn 4 wouldn’t have plagiarized it if there wasn’t) but it lacked any real charm, which can make even the worst movie likable or in this case make a very competently made movie forgettable and lifeless.
Cold Prey 2 has a lot of charm compared to its predecessor; the creepy derelict hotel in the snowy mountains has been jettisoned in favor of a less original “killer in a hospital” plot but there’s more going on in this movie. The characters aren’t any better written but the quality of characters wasn’t bad in the first movie, they’re just given more to do here, a couple of them even sort of have arcs now and there’s a lot more of them so we can get to the kills without losing characters we might be more interested in.
There’s a lot more life to the story now and that makes a huge difference when certain parts of the movie sag. The killer is still, far and away, the most interesting character on display but that’s still largely because there’s a lot about him that we don’t know. There’s another tidbit of his back-story we get here that may or may not imply there’s something supernatural about them but it still doesn’t do anything to explain why what happened to him at the start of the first movie happened or why he’s so keen on killing everyone. Cold Prey 3 is apparently a prequel and will fill in some of the blanks but when the first ten minutes of Freddy vs. Jason can summarize the entire convoluted history of two decade-spanning franchise characters in a quick and understandable way, I kind of feel like the writers of these movies could have done a bitter job of filling in the blanks along the way.
The killer is a bit problematic in this movie for a few reasons. At best, he now appears to be a carbon copy of Michael Myers only now we’re already at Halloween 4 levels of “Oh come on, just admit he’s a ghost or some shit” when it comes to explaining his dubious return. They just did far too good of a job of making sure he was well and truly dead at the end of Cold Prey and most of his allure was that we knew nothing about him even if that angle didn’t work out as well as it could have. But mystery doesn’t really work for a hook when you’re trying to make a franchise character; when the guy looks like The Swedish Chef cosplaying as RJ MacReady he really needs something more than mystery to make him compelling.
Even Friday the 13th gave up on the Halloween ripoff model after three sequels and tried a series of different distractions to keep the series interesting before throwing up its hands and going “fuck it, he ‘s a zombie!” And that’s really the path Cold Prey will have to go down if it hopes to endure through further entries, that or the “he had a brother” angle that never works. If there is a Cold Prey 4 it will just have to be a toned-down Hatchet sequel with better writing. The inherent problem with sequelizing Cold Prey is that it takes away from the first movie’s appeal.
The mountain man isn’t a scary killer because he can take an inhuman amount of punishment, in the entirety of the first film he barely even gets hurt, but because he’s incredibly competent and dangerous. Think of Cold Prey less as a slasher movie and more like a killer animal movie, the characters in the first movie stumbled onto a predator’s lair and the predator dispatches with them in kind. If it turns out that the predator was immortal all along then what was the point?
Jannicke’s triumph over Mountain Man was significant because she managed to outsmart the apex predator of the Jotunheimen mountains despite the fact that several faster, stronger, and smarter people had tried and failed to do so. To make Mountain Man a supernatural monster is to take away the character’s edge and make him more like all the other homogenized slasher villains that glut the market and that’s just boring.
Cold Prey 2 is a superiorly plotted sequel with a lot more charisma than the first even though it’s lost almost all of the traits that made the first one memorable to begin with. If you loved Cold Prey then you’ll likely love Cold Prey 2 even more, but if you didn’t this probably won’t change your mind.
There’s some extended versions of scenes, but nothing which was removed adds anything and was understandably taken out. The disc is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic widescreen with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. The movie is in Norwegian with English subtitles.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars