Saturday, May 9, 2009
Mats Stenberg's Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt) 2 (2008)
Mats Stenberg's Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt) 2 (2008) begins almost directly after the events of Roar Uthaug's Cold Prey (2006). While this review of Cold Prey 2 is spoiler-free, it undoubtedly will spoil plot points about Cold Prey. If you haven't seen the original, I highly recommend not reading this review and watching the original film first. Cold Prey is also one of the best horror/slasher films of this decade, from any country.Roar Uthaug's Fritt Vilt (Cold Prey) (2006) is an excellent horror film. The story of five young snowboarders, stranded in a hotel during a blizzard with a stalking madman, didn't change the face of horror cinema but certainly re-energized it. Its classic and traditional plot was evocative of earlier slashers, specifically John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) and Sean Cunningham's Friday the 13th (1980). While still violent, Cold Prey was a hidden treasure for horror fans sifting through the recent kidnapping/torture craze. All of its characters were likable, its script didn't sound utterly daft and ridiculous, and its execution was exciting, scary, and tension-filled.Mats Stenberg's Cold Prey 2 (2008) begins shortly after the events of the original. The film opens at a remote hospital, which is about to close, in the same vicinity of the hotel in the original. Camilla (Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik) is one of two doctors attending. She's kind-hearted and caring. Her boyfriend, Ole (Kim Wifladt), is the hospital's paramedic and gets called out to investigate a snowed-in automobile. It's abandoned, but while driving back to the hospital, Ole nearly hits a figure standing in the road holding a pick axe. The figure is revealed to be Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), the sole survivor from the original film. Jannicke is taken back to the hospital and treated. The police hear her tale about the murders of her friends. The Sheriff and his crew investigate the hotel and its surroundings. The corpses of Jannicke's friends and their killer are brought to the hospital morgue, shortly after.The relationship to Cold Prey and its sequel is comparable to Halloween and its sequel, Rick Rosenthal's Halloween 2 (1981). In fact, Cold Prey 2, beyond the similar hospital setting and the temporal closeness, owes a visual and atmospheric debt to Carpenter's classic and Rosenthal's excellent sequel. For some reason, hospitals always give me the willies, especially at night, when there is not much commotion. I've never been one to consider them "happy" places. The hospital location is used well in the film. The morgue scenes give the opportunity to introduce sweeter-than-candy, nurse Audhild (Johanna Morck) who reluctantly must bag and tag Jannicke's friends and their killer. One of the film's best scenes occurs in the morgue when Jannicke comes to investigate a commotion going on with the doctors. Like Halloween 2, Cold Prey 2 is shot wide with long looks down empty corridors filled with shadows. Light is minimal and its judicious use is nearly perfect. The killings are quick and relentless with no shortage of blood spilled. Cold Prey 2 tops the sequel in violence.Ingrid Bolso Berdal, as Jannicke, outdoes her performance in the original, where she was kind, caring, intelligent, and resourceful. She brings those same qualities with her character here, but this time, Berdal also reflects the post-trauma fear and desperate nature of one who was nearly a victim but won't be put in that position again. Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik as Camilla accompanies Jannicke's character very well: she's the true main character of the film, who experiences the horror for the first time. Mats Stenberg's direction is assured and shows a tremendous amount of talent. I hope Stenberg and Uthaug become the next John Carpenters of their generation. Like the overwhelming majority of cinema, Cold Prey 2 can make no claim to originality; however, within the extremely small minority of excellent recent horror cinema, Cold Prey 2 fits perfectly.