Cold Prey (2006)
Five young people head to the Norwegian mountains to snowboard, but when one of them fractures his leg, they break into an abandoned ski resort hotel for overnight shelter. But they are not alone, and before long a dark figure starts brutally killing them one by one.
If that plot summary sounds familiar, it's because Cold Prey (also known as Fritt Vilt) is essentially a cookie-cutter slasher movie. A group of 'teens' are isolated from the rest of civilisation, while a masked psychopath stalks them until a 'final girl' is left to face the killer alone. This one tones down the gore, raises the creepy atmosphere, and adds a bit of snow. But apart from that, it doesn't offer anything new.
It looks impressive. There are gorgeous, sweeping shots of mountains and scenery. The set is great, with muted colours and creepy, dim lighting. And the look of the killer is genuinely frightening. The score is pretty good too. But that's where the originality ends.
The youngsters are pretty bland, with very little character development. I didn't care which of them would be attacked next, or who was left to last. The killings take place mostly out of camera shot, and you have to wait 40 minutes before the first one takes place. There are jump scares, but mostly the 'false alarm' type (including the annoying someone-jumps-out-and-shouts-BOO! type). Characters find safe hiding places, then shout and make lots of noise. People try to have sex with their underpants on. The "twist" revelation of the killer's identity is fairly obvious from the first part of the film.
There are some bizarre holes in logic, too. The hotel has been abandoned for 35 years, and while the walls are stained and peeling in some rooms, there is still crisp, clean linen on the beds that characters are happy to sleep in. The person who was screaming in excruciating pain from an open fracture, is seen hopping around the place quite happily the next morning, as if he'd simply stubbed his toe. There's been no power or heating in the snow-covered building since the 70s, but a woman walks around in her underwear showing no signs of being cold. Nobody notices the trail of blood and handprints that were presumably left by the victim who'd been lying in a pool of blood before dragging themselves down the corridor almost to the lounge. What has the killer been eating for the last 35 years? And how has he been able to get hold of newspapers?
This all sounds like I hated watching the film. I didn't. I liked the way it created atmosphere and tension, and there were some genuinely suspenseful and creepy scenes. It's an entertaining popcorn movie, I just can't figure out why it gets as much adoration as it does. It's a bog standard slasher movie, albeit a nicely-filmed one. And that's about it.