Movies From the Black Lagoon: Cold Prey

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Cold Prey - 2006, Unrated
by Tom Doty

Norway finally weighs in on the "slasher" cycle of horror cinema with this edgy effort that pits five snow boarders against a killer with a serious (pick) ax to grind.
The film opens with a great teaser montage that juxtaposes images of a young boy running for his life while we get snippets of interviews with his parents. It's obvious that something horrible befell the child but you'll have to wait until the last 30 seconds of the film to find out exactly what happened. Meanwhile we are introduced to our snowboarding heroes in an atypical slasher moment. It's that typical scene wherein you are introduced to the characters while they're driving to a remote location. There isn't a lot of character building here (just as in American horror films). We basically learn that he lead couple (Jannicke and Erik) are afraid to get serious about each other while the two who have just met (Ingunn and Mikal) can barely restrain themselves when around each other. Then there's the fifth wheel guy (Morten) whose job it is to make jokes.
The next scene deposits them at their remote location, natch, where they proceed to snowboard like mad men. It's all in good fun until Morten loses control and wipes out in spectacular fashion. The accompanying crackling noise is pretty gruesome. Later you get a revealing shot of the compound fracture Morten has incurred and you realize the special effects will be gory enough to pass U. S. muster.
The group determines that they are way too high (as in elevation and not mental state) to get cell phone signals and way too far away from their vehicle to haul Morten there before dark. Naturally they spot an abandoned lodge and opt to spend the night there. We all know where this is going but lets just say that the execution here is flawless.
You get scenes of the group bonding, a sexual tryst, and some light banter just before all hell breaks lose. A psychopath, who wields a mean pick-ax of course, inhabits the lodge and he isn't at home to visitors. The film does a 180 though by giving you victims who figure out that they are in trouble even before they see their first body. When one of their groups disappears, and blood is found at the scene, it doesn't take these folks any time at all to determine that they are not alone. They also do some quick math and determine that it's time to leave. The killer, of course, weighs in with his own opinion but at least they come up with a plan and try to escape before having to fight for their lives.
The finale features plenty of chills, last minute escapes, and gore. It is all well rendered and should delight fans of the genre who will marvel at the final set piece which involves hand to hand combat between the killer and the final female atop a gaping crevasse that already holds the remains of countless victims.
No matter how you slice it the end result is a good chiller that delivers on moments you'd expect but also offers a fresh take on the genre. Sure they deliver on the carnage but you also get some refreshing changes that include smarter characters and a more mature take on premarital sex than other films in this genre. Characters who are almost as smart as the audience members are a pleasant change. The problem is that they don't leave much room for the time-honored tradition of yelling at the screen every time a character does something stupid. Ignore the cover art which makes this look like any old gore movie with a pretty cast. It's better than that. Don't judge this book by its cover.
Best Line: " I threw up all over my neighbor, and his laptop computer."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: