First there was "Switchblade Romance" which showed that not only was the slasher alive and well, but that it could have a very bright future. Hard-hitting and tense like a hypochondriac with constipation. Then "Wolf Creek" took us through the Outback and several levels of Hell along the way. Crocodile Dundee jokes aside, this one pulled no punches.
Now, Norway's getting in on the action with the chilly "Cold Prey".
So what makes this film unlike other tired, dull slashers? Very much the same things that elevate "Wolf Creek" and "Romance": an abundance of style, complicated character relationships, psychologically realistic characters, attention to (even the most minute) detail, and the ability to know the thin border between the terrifying and the laughable. "Cold Prey" ticks all these boxes.
There are other slashers films about some teens that have went for a ski weekend and are massacred by an unknown madman. But "Cold Prey", right away, signals that it's different. Characters are real, if not always likeable, three-dimensional people you can believe in and not mere killer-fodder who must be disposed of before the Final Girl can walk away.
And yet, it does have all the classic elements of a slasher. The Final Girl rule is in effect, the killer comes from a troubled past, and teens will be teens won't they? But none of it is redundant, there's an almost post-modern awareness at work here. You know slashers, so does Roar Uthaug, so here's a really nicely done one.
An abandoned ski-lodge makes for an atmospheric locale, with lots of cold lighting, shadows, and rustic set pieces. Carefully plotted and as nerve-wracking as nails on a chalkboard. And for all Gorehouds out there, "Cold Prey" doesn't skimp on the violence.