COLD PREY II Gives Homage & Stays Brutal

Fritt Vilt II (English title: Cold Prey 2). 2008. Dir.  Mats Stenberg. Screenplay by Thomas Moldestad.
Starring Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik, Kim Wifladt, Johanna Mørck, and Fridtjov Såheim. Shout! Factory.
Not Rated. 86 minutes.

POSTEROne of the things I enjoy most about the whole Fritt Vilt trilogy (check out my review for the first film, Fritt Vilt) is that with each film we’re able to sort of peel back the mask of the killer. Sure, there isn’t much else to really know other than the fact this man has clearly had a lot of personal troubles, which kicked into gear some disturbing issues. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe this is another slasher worthy of the attention most big names like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees receive.
My vote is for the latter.
Fritt Vilt II begins immediately after the events of the first film. Jannicke (Berdal) is found wandering. She’s still in awe and horrible shock over what has happened. Once she is brought to a hospital, they are able to settle her down for awhile. The police don’t immediately believe Jannicke’s story – though she gives them a location and a number of bodies to be found – yet once the crevasse is discovered, and the bodies within it, as well as the murderous mountain man’s frozen corpse, her story gets more and more believable.
However, after the body of the killer is brought to the hospital he begins to thaw. A short time later it becomes quite obvious his killing spree is far from over.
maxresdefault Though it’s pretty clear in the first Fritt Vilt who exactly the killer is and sort of where he came from (from its opening scenes), this film starts to reveal more, as the Chief of Police is investigating a slew of disappearances throughout the area. He starts to piece together clues on his own as to the identity of the killer. I liked this because it sort of gives us another aspect of intrigue. Aside from the fact this guy is clearly going to want to murder Jannicke, there’s also this cop who comes in to play that part of good versus evil. It isn’t a necessary aspect for this film but it just works. You also know that, usually, the cops aren’t an answer in these situations. Slasher killers are always more keen and far more sly than the police ever are in movieland (in real life, too – unfortunately). So, it’s almost like a challenge in terms of wondering how the killer will dispatch of any officers who try and step into his path. The movie visual equivalent of a tough guy’s ‘bring it’ pose. Worked for me.
The pacing in this movie improved a lot over its predecessor. Whereas Fritt Vilt lagged a little before the real horror got going (not saying slow pacing is a bad thing – just didn’t work as well for the first film’s plot), Fritt Vilt II is an energetically paced film with fuel. It doesn’t start right from the first frame with kill after kill or anything. What this film does is kick off with Jannicke, give us a bit of an update on where her situation stands, and then it moves on quickly to integrate and introduce us to the new set of characters (alongside Jannicke and the killer) who move the plot along.
Furthermore, I really dig the characters here. So often you find a lot of modern horror films, more specifically the slasher sub-genre entries, are populated with dense and at times downright laughable characters. Yet here, I really enjoyed the new characters.
In particular – Camilla (Rovik). Because she didn’t seem like a typical horror movie female character. I like when writers can portray women as flawed in the same way they do with men; it proves female characters (females in general) are not stuck to being one-dimensional or, in a lot of cases with horror, ignorantly and negatively stereotyped. Camilla is one of those characters who isn’t tarred by the same brush as a lot of female characters in the horror genre to end up being.
The same goes for Jannicke. Berdal does an even better job this time around with her character. It’s one of those progressions similar to Sarah Connor in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day  – in the first she is a bit of a meek lady & the second she has transformed into the hardest ass-kicker ever. In this movie, Jannicke becomes a tougher woman than she even was originally. However, one thing that kept me on edge throughout this installment is how she is still recovering from the first film; not only physically, but mentally. One moment is near perfection – at almost the hour mark of the film, Jannicke snaps herself out of the medicated funk she’s still in from waking up in the hospital by sniffing some medical jars, of who knows what. Just the way she comes back to reality fully after nearly breaking down in the moments before – brilliance. Really shows off Berdal’s talent as a lead. Great horror performance.
936full-cold-prey-2-screenshotI’ve talked about this before – how the mark of a truly great slasher is their brutality. The killer in Fritt Vilt, if anything, throughout the series proves he is without a doubt one of the most cruel, sadistic, and cold hearted son of a bitches to ever, ever, grace the horror world with his presence. The image above shows one of my favourite kills in the entire series. Sheer brutality. He literally hauls the guy’s head and neck back until it cracks. Sort of folds the guy up. With a slight mess.
This brings me to another point about the whole trilogy I’ve made before. I really draw a lot of comparisons between Fritt Vilt (mainly the first two films) and John Carpenter’s slasher classic Halloween. The kill above reflects a lot of that. One of the things I enjoyed about Michael Myers, even in the lesser sequels, is the fact he is a maniac; through and through. His brutal and animalistic nature shows in the way he offs some of his victims. In one film, he pokes his finger right through a person’s forehead. Even in the very first Halloween, he pins one of the teenager’s up to the wall easily without ever once looking strained. Just his strength alone, without considering his murders, is monstrous enough.
Fritt Vilt II really follows more in line with the Halloween series because it emulates the setting of Halloween II (directed by Rick Rosenthal) with the use of a dreary and isolated hospital for the main action. There aren’t really any rip-offs here; nothing like that. There is, on the other hand, much of the tension from both the first and second installments of the Halloween franchise. Yes, Stenberg does employ a few jump scares, and even a couple ‘gotcha’ shots where he subverts the expectation. Yet most of what he sticks with is very reminiscent of the first two encounters with Michael Myers. That’s another reason I really enjoyed the subplot involving the Police Chief investigating the disappearances; it almost gave me a Myers versus Dr. Loomis vibe, without infringing too much. It’s mainly the sense of dread and isolation Stenberg drums up here that makes me think of Halloween and more specifically Halloween II. Again – not a bad thing. I love horror films which pay homage, straddling the line between paying respects and plagiarizing. This movie does any great slasher justice.
ColdPrey2Although Michael Myers is still my favourite slasher of all-time, I have to give it to Fritt Vilt‘s mountain man – he is one hell of a bad ass himself. For instance, one of my favourite parts of this movie is when he takes on the police inside the hospital. He really terrorizes them. Again, this builds more dread, as everyone realizes the police with their guns and their training and so on are still no match for the horrifying psychopath. Myers killed some police in his day, but never did he so openly and with so much balls confronted them like this guy. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Michael takes the slow and steady approach with a more mental aspect. This fella has got both the brains and the muscle working overtime, firing on all cylinders. Again, the brutality is what really makes this something scary.
I can’t tell you enough – this is an amazing slasher. I loved the first one, which I’ve had on DVD awhile now, and just adored this one (the third one is also a lot of fun). Watch it when you can. I know not everybody is down with reading subtitles – I get that and don’t look down my nose at anyone who isn’t into it because some people just don’t dig reading in the first place – but this is so worth it. The entire trilogy really is solid. Fritt Vilt II expands on the original, giving the killer a little more a history, just enough, while pulling out a bunch of really great kills (the effects are likewise pretty excellent all around) and adding some likable characters to the mix with Jannicke. All these elements really solidify Fritt Vilt as one of the best slasher series’ out there.
Plus, the ending is great – one of those moments you always wish characters in a horror movie would give us. Very untypical of a slasher particularly. Well, Jannicke does give us such a moment, so thank her. Now you can stop complaining about that one particular trope.
The link for my DVD review of the previous installment Fritt Vilt.

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