Monday, July 18, 2011

COLD PREY (2006) - the ski horror genre finally incorporates the foreign film genre

I guess I’m backing into a ski horror degree. I’ve already reviewed the likes of Iced, Blood Tracks, Satan’s Blade, and Frozen, and I’ve also seen Shredder, and now I’m reviewing Cold Prey. Once I catch up with Cold Prey 2, I’ll finally have my MFA in ski horror studies. I say “backing in” because I have absolutely no interest in skiing. I tried skiiing once, fell over, and promptly gave up. I have tried many similar activities (skateboarding, surfing, rollerskating, etc.) and have quickly given up under similar circumstances. If I try something that’s supposed to be fun, and instead of having fun I almost die, I quit and move on to something else. I know you’re not supposed to give up, but instead push on through difficult times, but I don’t think a pleasant activity should be a borderline life and death proposition. Thankfully, I’ve never been skydiving, as failure in that case means certain death.

So, I think my MFA thesis is either going to be about the fact that it’s easy to break a leg when skiing, which will incapacitate a group of teens (they can’t just leave their buddy to die), or maybe the cold isolation that comes with a snowy mountain mountain range. It’s basically a convenient setup for a horror film, and a pretty effective setting. Cold Prey employs both of these aspects in spades in order to weave a standard slasher tale. Iced would be the one ski horror film that actually cares about skiing and weaves it into the plot. Maybe I’ll just print out my review for Iced and hand it in for my final paper. I’ll probably have to edit out the naughty words and sexual references and replace them with film professor friendly words (like “diegesis” and “oeuvre”).

The one innovation that Cold Prey brings to the ski slasher is that it’s Norwegian. Granted, the actors and filmmakers have no choice in the matter, being from Norway, but I still give them credit anyway. However, there aren’t many things in the film to identify it as Norwegian, except for the fact that the teens in the film all speak Norwegian. That’s probably a good thing, as otherwise they wouldn’t be able to understand each other. However, you don’t really get to learn any exotic facts about the culture. For example, did you know that it snows so much in Norway that you legally have to eat at least one snow cone a day? Also, did you know that penguins automatically have the right of way when crossing the street? Or, that the national anthem is a black metal song? Just some fun facts. Also, Norway has a bunch of hot Norwegian chicks, many of which have’s true!

So, while it’s not “innovative” or “post-modern”, that’s not to its detriment. Most slashers post-Scream are “post-modern” to some degree, as far as I’m concerned. Even those modern slasher filmmakers who claim that they’re “going back to the roots of the genre”, or “kicking it old school”, usually end up with a “retro” version of the post-modern slasher. One modern film that managed to feel like a “classic slasher” without going retro is Wrong Turn, and Cold Prey comes across as the Scandinavian Wrong Turn, although not as good (keep in mind, I REALLY like Wrong Turn). A solid slasher relies on suspense, shock, and atmosphere, and needs to feature characters who aren’t total douchnozzles. Cold Prey manages to hit these bullet points, and also throws in a Turbonegro song on the soundtrack. Yeah, I know, foreigners make you uncomfortable, but I think you can make an exception here.

P.S. This film was written as part of the Final Girl Film Club. You can read Stacie's review here. She actually spends some time talking about the movie and explaining stuff.


  1. Nice, succinct, funny post, Thomas. Kudos too for spreading the Turbonegro love.

  2. @John
    Thanks! I'll check out your review (I thought I saw you posting one). Turbonegro sells itself.

  3. I'd agree with dubbing it the Norwegian Wrong Turn. Both films are very solid at what they are, it's just that they're simply not more THAN that.

  4. @Emily
    Yes, but one way to look at it is that they're "stripped down" or "basic" or "lean". However, it would've been nice if the director didn't TOTALLY embrace cliches like he seemed to be doing.

    Oh, and thanks for stopping by! Your blog roxxxx (with four x's), but I'm sure you knew that already.

  5. My absolutest pleasure! I don't know how I didn't realize you had a blog until today! Dutily added to sidebar and followed henceforth!