Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #249
Number of Views: One
Release date: 10 October 2008
Sub Genre: Slasher
Country of Origin: Norway
Running time: 86 minutes
Director: Mats Stenberg
Producers: Martin Sundland, Kristian Sinkerud
Screenplay: Thomas Moldestad, Roar Uthaug, Martin Sundland
Special Effects: Kai Kolstad Rødseth
Visual Effects: Jeppe N. Christensen
Cinematography: Anders Flatland
Score: Magnus Beite
Editing: Jon Endre Mørk
Distributors: Nordisk Film, Shout! Factory
Stars: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik, Kim Wifladt, Fridtjov Såheim, Johanna Mørck, Mats Eldøen, Rune Melby, Per Schaanning, Andreas Cappelen, Vetle Qvenild Werring, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Robert Follin, Bernhard Ramstad, Inger Johanne Ravn, Charlotte Grundt, Viktoria Winge, Tomas Alf Larsen
Suggested Audio Candy
Magnus Beite “Atmosphære”
In 2006 Norwegian director Mats Stenberg gave slasher aficionados the world over something to scream about with Fritt Vilt or Cold Prey to use its translated title. Whilst offering little new, it excelled in creating an oppressive atmosphere and was well shot, cut and played by all concerned. It traveled particularly well outside of its native country and received plaudits from across the board, putting Norway firmly on the horror map in the process. Having performed so well, Roar Uthaug decided to pick up the reigns for the sequel and bring The Mountain Man back to our screens for a second serving.
While the personnel may have changed with regards to the director, studio Fantefilm again bankroll the project and the original screenwriting team returns on writing duties. Evidently this is far more than a thoughtless cash-in and the entire team were insistent that they follow it up with a film in possession of all the key strengths the first feature had in such abundance. This includes plucky final girl Jannicke (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) who resumes her role as the story picks up from exactly where Cold Prey left off.
John Carpenter’s Halloween was clearly an inspiration first time out and Cold Prey: Resurrection takes its cue from Rick Rosenthal’s sequel by transferring events to a nearby hospital on the brink of closure with skeletal staff and precious few patients. It just so happens that Keeper considers Halloween II a supreme follow-up, albeit one lacking Carpenter’s inimitable style. Uthaug brings very little to the table in terms of originality but shows exactly where his influences lay by following the well-worn template to the letter.
Jannicke is found wandering around in sub-zero conditions brandishing an ice pick and is swiftly moved to the institution in Otta while local police check out her claim that her friends’ bodies and that of her assailant are stuffed down a crevasse outside the mountain resort from the first film. Her story checks out and the carcasses are bought in to be bagged and tagged, much to her displeasure, and soon it is made clear that The Mountain Man is not, in fact, deceased but in deep hibernation. Needless to say, it is nothing a few jolts with a defibrillator can’t put right. And so it begins.
The setting couldn’t be more ideal and Uthang plays to its strengths, keeping the action insular and breathless. In addition Anders Flatland’s stunning cinematography compliments the whole affair and the few external shots are remarkably expansive, making it feel all the more claustrophobic when we return to the primary setting. The original was never what you would call a splatterfest and Resurrection, whilst upping the grue quota, treads the same boards. There is no bloated cast, only a handful of potential fodder for the ventilation and it focuses instead on the slow-build of tension which served Cold Prey so well first time out.
The central characters are all likeable if maybe not fleshed-out sufficiently and, as the bodies begin to drop with no real surprises, we actually care a little about their plight. In addition, there are moments of black comedy which punctuate the running and screaming. One such guffaw comes from an elderly patient who seems only interested in finding the nearest latrine. As she wheels her portable drip through the ensuing bloodbath she turns to one protagonist who is cowering away in fear and remarks calmly “I’ve found the bathroom.” Dementia is bliss it appears.
Our leading lady pledged only to return if the original was done justice and thankfully it is. She is excellent as Jannicke and elevates this to a cut above with both her histrionics and eventual metamorphosis back into the feisty defender of the realm who dealt so admirably with the threat previously, exhibiting that ‘never say die’ spirit as she attempts to remain vigilant and one step ahead of the game. There are parallels between Jannicke and Laurie Strode and, once again, it appears she has done her homework. This helps sideline us against any plot inconsistencies or lack of plausibility as we will her on for her gusto and fierce resolve.
The Mountain Man cuts an impressively ominous figure and his ambiguity is retained, while back story is provided to fill out any blanks. Once he has reacquainted himself with his favored pickax, it is business as usual, and he certainly isn’t one to be reasoned with. If an opportunity arises for him to perform a little surgery then he does so without anesthetic or the vaguest slither of remorse. The hospital setting provides the ideal stomping ground for him and he lurks in the shadows and recesses, with only the glint of his sharpened blade to guide him through.
Should you have a nostalgic view of the eighties, like myself, and require only a tip of the hat to times passed then Cold Prey: Resurrection will invariably be for you. It has little in the way of innovation but makes up for it with understanding of what made these films stand out in the first instance. It is never likely to win any awards and I’m sure that was never the intention. However, it makes a perfect companion piece to one of 2006’s surprise packages and shows that the Norwegians have all the guile to do the genre justice.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 7/10
Grue Factor: 3/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: Undoubtedly more grisly second time out, there are some fairly impressive dispatches, none least a neck break which will have you wearing your polar neck for weeks afterwards and death by fire extinguisher which, I’m reasonably assured, is something of a first. By no means a grue carnival, there’s still plentiful splatter to sink your incisors into.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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