When the Norwegian slasher “Cold Prey” was released back in 2006, it was hailed by some as being the best example of the form for some years, being a back to basics slice of gory fun and genuine tension. Given its success, “Cold Prey 2” was always inevitable, and the film now arrives on region 2 DVD via Momentum, handily packaged in a box set with the original. This time around director Roar Uthaug has been replaced with debut helmer Mats Stenberg, who does his best to serve up a similar helping of snow bound scares. Strangely, the film has been lumbered with a most unnecessary title suffix, as ‘resurrection’, whilst perhaps technically appropriate is unlikely to mean anything to anyone, whether they have seen its predecessor or not.
The plot takes its cue from “Halloween 2”, following immediately on from the events of the original as lone survivor Jannicke (a returning Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) is found wandering in the mountains and is rushed to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, after she informs the police of her ordeal, they decide to bring the supposedly dead killer to the same clinic, which just happens to be closing the next day and operating on a skeleton staff. Needless to say, the murderous mountain man soon revives and takes to the dimly lit corridors to cut his way through the cast, whilst a couple of dozy detectives head back to his abandoned hotel lair to try to shed some light on his not particularly interesting origins.
As should be obvious, in terms of plot and setup, “Cold Prey 2” is a strictly by the numbers affair. Still, in a genre not exactly known for innovation, this is not necessarily a criticism, and as with the original, it manages to get by thanks to its investment in characters, tight handling and slick production values. Jannicke again makes for a likeable, resourceful heroine, thanks in no small part to a game performance from Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, and her ability to consistently drag herself from set piece to set piece gives the film a ‘survival horror’ feel. Aside from the old school silent killer, who seems to have developed Michael Myers style supernatural powers after his unexplained revival, the rest of the cast are pretty indistinguishable, though they are more fleshed out than the usual knife fodder cattle. The fact that they don’t grate on the nerves as much as the would-be hipsters who all too often populate this kind of film is a real plus. Similarly, since the viewer actually half cares about some of them, the death scenes have somewhat more of an impact than they might otherwise have had.
Stenberg does a reasonable job in the director’s chair, basically emulating Uthaug’s stripped down approach, so much so that the two films if viewed back to back would quite neatly run into one. After a slow start, the film moves along at a fair pace, with the tension thankfully not being diluted by too many cheap scares. Although it would be going too far to call the proceedings frightening, there are a handful of effective shriek scenes which may give less experienced fans of the form a few chills. The film is noticeably bloodier than the original, never a bad thing, and whilst unlikely to have anyone reaching for the sick bag it does have somewhat of a hard edge and a pleasingly visceral feel. The obviously high budget certainly helps, giving the film a professional sheen and gloss lacking in so many of its more threadbare peers. Stenberg makes the most of this, and though familiar looking the hospital serves as a suitably creepy and atmospheric set, with plenty of inexplicably gloomy corridors and shadowy corners.
All of this helps to distract from the general lack of creativity on show, and “Cold Prey 2” certainly stands as one of the better made and more entertaining examples of the slasher form in recent years. Devoid of annoying teens and featuring a respectable quotient of kills, its upmarket feel means that it should be enjoyed not only by genre fans but also by those who would not normally venture into such tacky territory.
Mats Stenberg (director) / Thomas Moldestad, Martin Sundland, Roar Uthaug, Axel Hellstenius, Marius Vibe (screenplay)
CAST: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal … Jannicke
Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik … Camilla
Mats Eldøen … Sverre
Kim Wifladt … Ole
Robert Follin … Geir Olav Brath
Fridtjov Såheim … Herman
Johanna Mørck … Audhild
Per Schaaning … Einar