Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to…
When I reviewed Cold Prey at the beginning of the year (here) I was surprised to find it was such an entertaining, suspenseful, and well made slasher film. The most impressive thing about it of course was the fact that the movie is Norwegian. Who knew? It was more than a little redundant of the genre, but still managed to stand on it’s own as a pretty cool little horror film. It was also a huge hit across Europe meaning a sequel was guaranteed… but could it possibly be any good?
Cold Prey 2 picks up almost immediately after the first film’s conclusion. Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), the sole survivor of the Nordic killer’s snowbound onslaught, is found by someone from a nearby town and brought back to the local hospital where she tells her story to the minimal staff and police force. They proceed to investigate her claims while she recovers, and for the first thirty minutes we meet the handful of townsfolk staying or working at the hospital overnight including Nurse Camilla (Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik), her boyfriend Ole (Kim Wifladt), and police chief Einar (Per Schaaning). From here the film plays out along similar lines to Halloween II… the killer makes his way to the hospital (in a very different way than Michael Myers did) and is soon stalking the halls and slaughtering everyone in his path as he works his way towards Jannicke.
And once again, these Nordic bastards have surprised me. They’ve taken an extremely simple premise and turned it into one of the more capable slasher sequels I’ve seen in quite some time. One of the many reasons Cold Prey 2 shouldn’t have worked (aside from being a sequel in the first place) is the loss of director Roar Uthaug. His successor, Mats Stenberg, takes the reins for his directorial debut and turns in a film just as well made and suspenseful as the original. With the help of the screenplay by Thomas Moldestad (who also wrote the original film), Stenberg chooses to spend more than thirty minutes setting the scene and building characters before bringing back the killer, and it’s definitely time well spent. As with the original film there’s not a single annoying character you’re happy to see die, and instead are pulling for just about every one of them to be the one who survives until the end. Moldestad’s script also explores a bit more of the killer’s identity and back story in a very satisfactory way.
The films other strengths are just as atypical of the genre. All of the acting is good with Berdal’s emotional roller coaster being a stand-out. She takes a beating in more ways than one and remains one of the genre’s spunkier and more capable heroines. It would have been nice to see more growth or depth to her character, but seeing as this takes place just twenty-four hours after the first film I’m willing to cut her some slack. The film’s look alternates between beautiful exteriors and claustrophobic hospital hallways and rooms courtesy of cinematographer Anders Flatland (god I love these names), and the action is just as well shot. Stenberg has also upped the blood quotient a little bit from the curiously dry original. It’s still far from a splatter flick but the grue is a definite plus. And can I say how thrilled I am to see characters who behave intelligently and realistically once a threat has been identified?
Like it’s predecessor, Cold Prey 2 brings absolutely nothing new to the slasher/horror genre. But also like the first film, the sequel manages to do everything right and exceedingly well. The characters are likable and believable, the scares are genuine, and the movie makes it very clear in the end that there will not be a third entry in the series… unless of course it’s a prequel like the one just announced to begin production next month…