Cold Prey II (2008) - Fritt vilt II in Norwegian this thrilling slasher film continues mere hours after the last film ended. The original Cold Prey was surprisingly well done but seeing the history of sequels I have to say I feared the worst going into the second film. The original with its killer creation story built into it was well directed by Roar Uthaug and acted by the cast with lead Ingrid Bolso Berdal a real stand out, the action was tense and the situations presented were not way out there. When it comes to stalker /killer movies they can quickly go from good to bad with small script choices and the fear is always that in the pursuit of a few dollars suddenly your killer has some kind of supernatural powers and can't be killed. Then before you know it is its "Friday the 13th", parts 3 and on, and he is killing in outer space.
Mats Stenberg in his directing debut, and from the looks of it his only project ever picks up shortly after the first film ended. Of course we don't know that yet instead we meet the cast of people who will be the hunted at the new location, a hospital. We have Camilla (Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik) and Ole (Kim Wifladt) he a search and rescue technician and she a doctor at the hospital in Stehotinn. They are in the midst of a sort of breakup, but not where she is thinking of taking a job further away and he is not committal about joining her. None of this will matter soon though, as Ole while driving out on his job almost hits Jannicke our sole survivor from Cold Prey. This is how we know it is not long after the events of the first film. She is in tough shape with exposure related problems and is brought back to the hospital to be cared for by Camilla. When the bodies of the other victims are brought into the hospitals morgue, and the body of the killer from the first film you can guess what happens next.
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The film makes a leap, partially reasonable and somewhat ridiculous at the same time to explain the return from the dead of the killer. First there is a reasonable argument that the cold slowed the killers heart so he appeared dead, then the warmth of the morgue allowed him to revive. The second part though involves the back story of the character, it goes that at birth the child was DOA but that amazingly after some time his heart magically jump started itself. This is wrapped in a paper of some kind of syndrome but really it is a lame attempt to create back story while also getting the killer back in action.
Writer Thomas Moldestad as he did in the first film delivers a script that is tight and tense. If not for the silly rebirth of the killer you could say that this film is damn close to the first in the scenarios that play out. Since the killer does what he does it is, the basic stalk and kill of the first film is on display here. Instead of the abandoned ski lodge we place it in the hospital and instead of skiers we have patients and hospital staff. So what is different? Well the story of Jannicke who at first is pretty helpless as she recovers, but as the film goes on her fight, this time from a place of experience is what drives the film forward. What is great about her isn't that she is some kind of wrecking ball for the killer but more that her will to survive. She encompasses the competent and strong willed survivor we all hope we will be in such an extreme situation. Like Ripley in Alien she is a problem solving, strong woman who will fight back when it is called for. Since seeing "You're Next" and its character Erin, this is another competent resourceful woman character and I have to say the horror genre needs more of them. Also this film does what a good sequel does it ups the body count a bit, and includes more action than the first. Many of the characters in the film are just fodder for the killer.
So although the film plays out like a stalker slasher film, the character of Jannicke carries the action and again even though there is not a lot new in this film is entertaining all the way through. We do have the story of the killer though. Not quite willing to make the killer supernatural, Moldestad instead uses the fact that in the original the killer is defeated outside to help bring him back to life. This is Norway and its damn cold in these films. So suggesting that the killer's body temperature could of made his heart slow to the point that it could not be heard is a reasonable attempt. Unfortunately we also get a little back story on the killer, how when he was a baby thta he was stillborn and the doctors could not get him going with CPR. The after they had given up he suddenly jump started his own heart. It is a bit of a stretch and damn close to being ridiculous. Knowing that there is a third film in this series I anticipate the crossing over into camp at the very least.
So if you want a solid and entertaining film where lots of people are stalked by an overly strong killer, half the time, the characters don't even know there is a killer, then watch Friday the 13th, oh wait no, Cold Prey II which is similar but not the same. You will have to read subtitles but I think the story is strong enough to recommend this film.