[review by J Kerswell]
It's rare for a sequel to outdo the original, but that's exactly what COLD PREY 2 does. Other critics have called this the "perfect slasher movie", and you know what? They're not far off the mark.
COLD PREY 2 starts where the first film leaves off. In a nearby town, a snow bound hospital is preparing to close, with only a few patients left and a skeleton crew (who are soon to become skeletons for real!). A policeman gets a report of an abandoned car, and heads off to investigate. On the way back, he almost crashes into a woman standing in the middle of the road. Jannicke (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) - the final girl and survivor from the first film - is carrying the pickaxe she used to seemingly dispatch the killer. Collapsing to the floor, she is taken to the hospital. Slowly the police tease out of her what had happened, and they go to investigate the gorge where the bodies of her friends - and the killer - lie. Sure enough, they find them and bring all the corpses back to the hospital morgue.
A kindly doctor, Camilla (Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik), tries to help Jannicke come to terms with her trauma. In a slightly questionable approach, she takes her to the morgue to see her dead friends. Jannicke breaks down until she sees the body bag where the killer lies, and she attacks him before being dragged off. Later, one of the nurses stripping clothes off the corpses notices the body moving. They rush him into the ward and give him CPR. Horrified that the nightmare isn't over, Jannicke again tries to stop this happening. She is restrained, sedated and tied to her hospital bed.
Sure enough, the 'snowman' isn't finished with his bloody business, and is soon stalking the hospital corridors hunting for cold prey ...
It's fairly obvious that COLD PREY 2 is a kind of homage of sorts to another slasher sequel, HALLOWEEN II (1981). Both share the hospital setting, follow on directly from the original, and have a heroine who spends much of the film either drugged or traumatised. Both films exploit the fear inducing aspects of hospitals - hardly difficult - but it is done especially well here. Director, Mats Stenberg, pulls off that tricky balancing act. The characters at the hospital are well drawn and we care for them, without too much exposition dragging the film to a halt (a problem with the first film). The acting is uniformly good - especially from Berdal as Jannicke who runs through a gamut of emotions. The film is also beautifully shot; whilst it misses much of the epic snowy wastes that made the first film so distinctive, it is well replaced with the claustrophobic setting of the near deserted hospital. Lingering and ever moving POV shots of dimly lit corridors adds considerably to the atmosphere. Fans of the grue won't be disappointed, either - with plenty of blood flying around. The killer is as silent and deadly as in the first film - and seeing him stalk the hospital with a pick axe is near slasher movie heaven. There's also a nice touch explaining his seemingly supernatural powers to resurrect without resorting to hocus pocus. What also makes COLD PREY 2 so special is that it is so well constructed, engaging, and relentlessly suspenseful. Despite reworking many an old cliche, this is truly nail biting stuff.
The film only falls down in the common sense stakes, with victims not running straight out the hospital doors and into the town to raise the alarm. But, that's a criticism that could be leveled at many other slasher flicks - and, anyway, if characters in these things did what they should we would be left with anti-climactic 5 minute shorts!
Topping things off with a return to the hotel where it all started, COLD PREY 2 has an ending that is both symmetrical and satisfying. It seemingly doesn't leave the ending open for a third one, but you know what they say - never say never.
female:1 / male:7
1) Male has throat slit with scalpels
2) Female bashed to death with fire extinguisher
3) Male has neck broken
4) Male found with head wound
5) Male attacked with pickaxe
6) Male killed (method unseen)
7) Male gets pickaxe to the head
8) Male gets pickaxe to chest and shot