Review: ‘Cold Prey II’

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Cold Prey II is the sequel to the wildly successful Norwegian Horror film Cold Prey (aka Fritt Vilt or Open Season).  A sequel is always subjected to extra scrutiny; in addition to being judged by its own merits, its success is also dependent on how well it enhances the mythology of the original.  It’s a difficult task, as sequels are rarely as good as the films that precede them—and Cold Prey was extremely well received.

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.

Read my review of Cold Prey II after the jump.

Official Synopsis:  The story will pick up where the first one left off: The winter of 2006 five young friends met a brutal death in the Jotunheimen mountain range of Norway. Only a young woman survived. Cold and weak Jannicke struggles her way back to civilization. In the small local hospital the personnel are going through their daily routines. But then the bloody and beaten young woman is brought in. Later Jannicke wakes up in her hospital bed. But the hospital is darkened and not a living soul is in sight. Alone she carefully steps out into the corridors. Is her nightmare not over after all?

Just as Halloween II is a direct extension of the first Halloween, Cold Prey II picks up in the aftermath of our Final Girl’s “victory”.  With her enemy assumed vanquished (dead at the bottom of a glacial crevasse) Jannicke is “rescued” and taken to a local hospital for medical attention and recuperation.  But just like Michael Myers wasn’t as dead as he appeared to be when he fell out of that second-story window, our birth-marked abominable Mountain Man still has some kick left as well.

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The Doctor claims it’s possible; that the cold could have slowed his heart-rate to under 20 beats per minute.  Then, as he warmed in the hospital’s morgue, he began to resuscitate.  Is this truth, pseudo-science, or proof of the Mountain Man’s otherworldly powers (making him something zombie-esque, akin to Jason Voorhees or the previously mentioned Mr. Meyers)?   Guess you’ll have to watch the film and decide for yourself.

In terms of storytelling, production, mood, and execution, Cold Prey II is solid.  Ingrid Bolso Berdal is awesome in her reprisal of Jannicke; definitely worse for wear after her experience in the previous film, she’s become a hardened natural-survivalist with a blazing need for vengeance.  Still, Cold Prey II is yet another example of a sequel that fails to match the winning formula of its predecessor.

It’s not because of poor filmmaking or lack of serious effort that makes Cold Prey II inferior to the original, just that the first was a more dynamic film with a devastating story-arch.  Cold Prey was about innocence lost when a carefree group of 20-somethings was forced to face a darker reality.  In a sense, it was a metaphor for the death of youth.  The film starts on a high note before plummeting us into caverns of despair.  It’s this descent that made it such an impactful film.

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Cold Prey II, on the other hand, starts off in that dark place, so there’s really nowhere left to go.  Without a more dynamic story-arch, the sinister moodiness of the sequel makes for a slow start and gets tiring after the first hour.  What Cold Prey II really lacked was a character like Marten Tobias from the first; he was someone likeable and realistic, a lovesick nerd most male Horror fans can relate too.  His transformation from goof to bad-ass was a major source of momentum and, without a worthy side-kick in Part II, Jannicke becomes somewhat frigid and 2-dimensional.

Cold Prey II also suffers from a couple sub-plots that were extraneous and ultimately abandoned, namely the hospital staff love-triangle and the young patient whose mother may or may not be abusive.

Where the film excels and titillates is when we are given more insight into the Mountain Man’s past.  While the end of the original had me thinking he was a poor, abused outcast, Cold Prey II paints a more devious picture of the killer in his youth.  Cold Prey III has already been released overseas and I hear it’s a prequel.  This excites me; the killer’s backstory is something I’ve always been curious about.

As a natural extension of the first film, Cold Prey II is fine.  There’s nothing that devalues anything from the original.  As a stand-alone, however, it just doesn’t have the same heart & soul.  But considering what a rare treat the first film was, producing a sequel of completely equal regard was probably an impossible feat.  In this sense, Cold Prey II is about as good as it could have been.

3 out of 5 Skull Heads.

Trailer: HERE

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Release Date April 23 2013
Studio Shout! Factory
Director Mats Stenberg
Writer Roar Uthaug
Starring Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik, Kim Wifladt, Fridtjov Såheim, Johanna Mørck, Mats Eldøen

 

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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

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