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Stream to Scream: “COLD PREY”

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As many fright fans already know, FANGORIA offers a great selection of gruesome movies, old and new, for free at our Hulu channel. To give you a better idea of what’s available, FANGORIA is taking in-depth looks at some of the channel’s terrifying titles with Stream to Scream. Today: Roar Uthaug’s international slasher COLD PREY.

By now, horror hounds should be familiar with the recent rise of Scandinavian horror. Covering ground in multiple subgenres with the likes of RARE EXPORTS, TROLLHUNTER, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and DEAD SNOW, the genre has benefitted greatly from the rise of new talent from Northeast Europe through glimpses into fresh, new visions of horror. And in these visions, subgenres that have lost relevance in the U.S. are given new life, with the imaginative touch of independent filmmaking but with the flair and finesse of a studio production

Among these titles is COLD PREY, Roar Uthaug’s slasher revival that introduces an intriguing story and engaging visual style within an all-too-familiar narrative structure. Yet while COLD PREY hits its many generic beats, it’s never necessarily predictable, and it’s care for both style and substance is rarely seen in slashers. But most importantly, COLD PREY has an atmospheric advantage over most slashers, with the mountainous, snowbound setting offering a feeling of inescapable dread beyond that of its killer.

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For those unfamiliar, COLD PREY follows a band of vacationers who stop at a seemingly abandoned hotel after one of them is severely injured in an accident, yet find the real danger has yet to come. And while the slasher genre is never one known for its subtlety, and COLD PREY does have a good amount of gore, the film carries a surprising amount of understated suspense. And furthermore, the story of COLD PREY is pretty solid as well, offering an intricate backstory for its maniac that is both creepy and somewhat sympathetic.

Director Uthaug does a great job as a director on COLD PREY, expertly pacing the film’s many reveals and bursts of violence by playing with expectations. For every moment that plays predictably, there’s two that slyly subvert slasher archetypes, all of which are elevated by strong performances and genuine character development. Daniel Voldheim’s cinematography is sharp, taking in grandiose nature shots in the first half of the film with the same effectiveness as the claustrophobic horror sequences. And it’s all supported by Magnus Beite’s ominous score, which certainly lends itself to film’s more suspenseful sequences.

Overall, COLD PREY is a strong, conceptually rich slasher film that feels less like a throwback and more like a new coat of paint on an old standby. Uthaug shows a clear understanding and appreciation of the genre, yet instead of attempting to homage or rip-off, COLD PREY offers clever variants on the slasher formula. And by taking advantage of both suspenseful psychological terror as well as gory splatter horror, COLD PREY operates on multiple planes of the genre and offers a culturally unique experience.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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