Rewind Review: 2009’s ‘Cold Prey’

cold-prey-group

Cold Prey (aka Fritt Vilt: “Open Season”) is a Norwegian Horror film in the Slasher subgenre.  The film was released in Norway in 2006, but didn’t arrive in America until 2009.

The movie was shot at the Jotunheimen mountain range, a place locals call “The Home of Giants”.  Helicopters flew over 20 tons of equipment to the site where temperatures reached -25 degrees Celsius.  Incredibly, Clod Prey took over 2 years to shoot, with another 9 months needed for special effects and editing.  It was a huge hit in Scandinavia and has built a well-deserved following Stateside as well.

Read my review after the jump.

Official Synopsis:  Jannicke, Morten Tobias, Eirik, Mikael and Ingunn are on a snowboarding vacation in Jotunheimen. They are forced to take shelter in an abandoned hotel when Morten Tobias breaks his leg and their car is too far away for them to reach within nightfall. They quickly discover that the hotel was closed in the seventies due to the disappearance of the managers’ son. Unknown to them, someone is still living in the hotel, and getting home, or even surviving the stay, isn’t as easy as they believe.

Let’s get the knee-jerk comparison to Dead Snow out of the way.  Yes, they are both Norwegian films, both feature a quintet of 20-somethings, and both take place in the snowy Scandinavian wilderness.  Besides that, these films are as different as can be.  Dead Snow is a hyper-active Horror Comedy, one of many “Cabin in the Woods” themed offerings.  Cold Prey, on the other hand, is a stark and serious Slasher movie with a Survivalist angle.  Both films, however, are great!

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The abandoned ski-lodge where Cold Prey plays out looks and feels similar to The Overlook Hotel.  Later, while exploring their surroundings, a couple finds themselves drawn to Room 237.  At this point, we know for certain that the filmmakers are evoking the terrifying vibes of The Shining.  But aside from the aesthetics and the isolated, snowy location, Cold Prey and The Shining are very different types of Horror; there is nothing supernatural about Cold Prey.  Still, it’s a nice Easter-egg (and you can’t really go wrong invoking Kubrick).

While the group of 20-somethings isn’t terribly original on the surface, the characters all feel more actualized and real than your average Horror movie lot of victims.  Ingrid Bolso Berdal is the stand-out as Jannicke, the “Final Girl” who (almost) never looses her cool.  Rolf Kristian Larsen is also great as Morten Tobias; he has a duel purpose in the film, serving as both the comic relief and the group’s biggest liability.  Were it not for his broken leg, the group would never have ended up trapped and stalked.  His injury also makes fleeing the villain difficult for him, and excruciating for viewers to watch.  The rest of the cast is OK, but they don’t have quite the same depth as Jannicke and the gimp.

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As for the terror, it’s great!  Suspenseful, well paced, creepy as fuck and scary as hell.  The unnamed villain is a formidable adversary, a hulking beast of a brute; he’s kind of like a realistic Jason Voorhees.  The revelation of his backstory serves as Cold Prey’s sinister final “twist”.  A sequel is already available worldwide and a prequel (which I am especially excited about) recently finished filming.

Another great one from Scandinavia, Cold Prey is head and shoulders above your typical, formulaic Slasher story.

3.5 out of 5 Skull Heads.

Trailer: HERE (Sorry for the poor quality, but this was the only one I could find with English subtitles).

Release Date January 20 2009
Studio Leomax/Anchor Bay
Director Roar Uthaug
Writer Roar Uthaug
Starring Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Endre Martin Midtstigen, Viktoria Winge
Site frittvilt.com
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About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: https://bloodandgutsforgrownups.wordpress.com/ View all posts by Saucy Josh

One response to “Rewind Review: 2009’s ‘Cold Prey’

  • Review: ‘Cold Prey II’ |

    […] While this review doesn’t contain spoilers, it does discuss the first film in depth.  So if you’re interested in the Cold Prey franchise but haven’t seen the original yet, you have no business reading about Part II.  If you’re new to Cold Prey, start by reading my spoiler-free review of the original HERE. […]

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