Cold Prey (also known as Fritt Vilt) is rather a run of the mill slasher movie that is very low on plot depth as well as gory deaths.
Cold Prey (directed by Roar Uthaug) follows a group of friends on a snowboarding vacation in Norway. Whilst on the slopes, one of the group suffers a bone cracking fall. Due to this, the group has to take refuge in an old abandoned hotel as they are too far from their car or civilization, and soon it will be getting dark. Whilst exploring the hotel, they find a room that has been burnt down, and odd noises keep happening in various parts of the large building.
Then whilst exploring some old documents, they see that the owners of the establishment had lost their son. And since then, the hotel has been left abandoned by the parents, obviously grieving their son. Settling in for the night, it soon becomes apparent to some that they are not alone and that someone is stalking the halls looking for their next victim.
The plot of Cold Prey feels a little thin. Not only do we have little backstory on the characters, but not much is known about the hotel. There are little hints scattered throughout but not enough to really capture your attention or build that much needed suspense. We do have the scene at the beginning of the movie which shows a child that is running away in fear, and later learn that this is the kid that went missing. But they never really expanded on that, just restated it again for us later on.
The characters are not two dimensional as it can be in a lot of horror slasher movies, but I would have liked more background on them. Apart from their interpersonal dynamics, we don’t get a lot of history. There is no background for why they are skiing or how they became friends or anything other than there are two couples and a fifth wheel. There is some good banter between them that does not feel stilted but it is not enough to make you care for the characters and the threat that looms over them.
Cold Prey is a slasher movie, but there have been other films older that have really captured the essence of what you want in a horror film much better. One of the main disappointments I found was the deaths. Not only are they too quick, but for a slasher, they are not gory or gruesome enough.
For a slasher, I was hoping for more extended deaths, but the camera quickly pans away. Not giving us the gore that we all hope for in a slasher. In fact, it is pretty tame in terms of slashers, very little blood is shown. The broken leg that one of the group suffers in the beginning of the movie, is perhaps the most gore that is seen in this film.
Considering this is set in an abandoned hotel, it is quite a shame that this setting was not used effectively to create a more horrifying landscape. It is almost forgotten that this is a hotel where a child went mysteriously missing. And that there was a room that clearly had been set on fire. Once these facts are added to the tapestry of the movie, they are forgotten later on, making it seem like filler than anything else.
And that is another flaw with this movie, the cinematography is just poor. Yes we have gorgeous landscapes, but for cinematography to be truly effective it must tell a story or at least add to the story. But it does none of that, in fact feels rather under utilised. Adding to that, the music rather than adding a spooky backdrop, was at times almost hammy.
It didn’t add to the scenes that were happening, but instead took the viewer out of the movie because it was so glaring and obvious. This could be explained by its release date as movies have come a long way with audio backdrops, but at the same time we have had much older movies that perfected that beautifully.
What really sets apart a slasher movie, is the predator that is chasing its victims. Though the villain had some potential to be scary, it never managed to reach that climax. Though there is some element of stalking in the film, it never really feels like there is much intention with it.
All the big moments only really come at the very end, the last 15 minutes, making it feel rather rushed than a climatic moment. This harks back to not really getting much of a backstory of the villain in this, though there are flashbacks and some references to the villain, they never delve deep enough. This makes the villain feel rather shallow in concept and ends up being that way in practice.
Cold Prey follows the rules of a slasher, but never does anything exciting with them, so instead we are left with a rather rote and predictable slasher.