Review: Cold Prey 2

Until the mid 00s, Norwegian horror movies were rare, and it was even more rare to see a horror movie sequel. Cold Prey 2 was in fact the first Norwegian horror movie sequel!

While most Norwegian fritt-vilt-2-poster2mainstream horror movies have followed traditional formulas, very few – if any – have had sequels. Cold Prey (2006) was a very formulaic movie, but the formula seemed to work and it was thus set for a sequel two years later. The story this time is basically the same as the in the first movie, except the location is a hospital, not an isolated hotel. In other words; psycho killer dressed in rags kills people in his way, which means most people at the small hospital in one of Norway’s many valleys. The valley happens to be just below the glacier where the hotel was in the first movie, so of course it’s the same guy again. How he could come back from the dead for more murder and mayhem is shown here in Cold Play 2 but wether you believe it at all, is another case.

Maybe they worked according to the rule “never change a winning formula”, because Cold Prey 2 picks up exactly where the first film ended, and is only slightly different in story, tone and impact to the original film. The scenery has changed from a remote and abandoned hotel to a small hospital (that is almost abandoned – it is scheduled to be closed for good, so only a few people still stay there). It is still winter, and the psycho killer from the previous movie still prefers to kill people rather than just leave. The big difference is of course that with a hospital, even in a small town, there are other people nearby and thankfully the local police is on duty and available. Even so, the film is basically copying its predecessor, using this new aspect to a rather minimal effect, some of which is only to up the body count. And if the movie is a true continuation, why would events repeat themselves? It’s more logical that events at a later stage would happen for different reasons in  a different environment. I would also be more logical if events repeated themselves if we were back to the old hotel and the rag man had to defend his solitude once again. The presence of a small child (Vetle Qvenild Werring, who would later play the lead in NRK’s fantasy series Julekongen / The Christmas King) provides some new and illogical dangers, but the fright level is not really affected; Norwegian movies are not ready yet for the slaying of children.

With that dissapointment out of the way, Cold Prey 2 actually offers great entertainment in the form of more violence and better gore. This is still a Norwegian movie so don’t expect over-the-top intestine studies, but the action is in fact better (more fun?) that in the original movie. We also get a better back story on the killer this time, so things make more sense than before. He also shows us some sign of intelligence, which can not always be counted on for masked serial killers. Overall, character development in this second movie is better than in the first outing, and finally in this series it feels as if it really matters if people die or not.

Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, who carries most of the acting load, does an excellent job and proves she is Norway’s number one action babe, and being able to mix physical acting with character performance. The movie is well cast, with some funny characters and some normal ones, with none looking like smooth TV stars or models (Norway lacks such actors anyway). Add to this great images and good special effets, and the overall impression is that the sequel is better than the first film! The scenery is not as spectacular as in Cold Prey (the mountain and snow were major selling points two years earlier) but in almost all areas the sequel improves.

It is however, still very by-the-book and predictable, and takes aim more at young teens than hardcore horror veterans.

Rated 7 of 10.

Directed by Mats Stenberg

Norway, 2008.