Cold Prey (2006)

Also known as Fritt vilt. I’m not very familiar with Norwegian horror, so when I saw Cold Prey on Hulu, I thought I’d check it out. After all, it combines two of my favorite things: slasher films, and mountainous landscapes. I have a weakness for seeing snow captured on film. However, I didn’t realize that the version on Hulu happened to be dubbed.

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This was a mistake on my part.

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The English dub of Cold Prey is awful. There is no way around it. It makes this film – solid in nearly every regard – look terrible. The dubbing actors have the flattest delivery I’ve ever heard, and absolutely no emotion. Which makes some of the dramatic scenes come off as comical when they really shouldn’t, and makes the cast seem as though they hate the idea of on-screen chemistry.

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But to be clear, I place the blame for this completely on the dub. I found a few clips on YouTube with the original Norwegian, and nearly all of the problems I had with Cold Prey disappeared. The actors do an excellent job in their native language, the characters are more mature and nuanced than I’ve come to expect from slashers, and the story itself is quiet and creepy right up until it isn’t. A lot of horror films fall into the trap of including too much exposition, but Cold Prey is restrained. It includes enough evidence to show that something bad happened in the past, but doesn’t try to give a blow-by-blow description of something that the characters have no realistic way of knowing in the first place.

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The film does occasionally get cluttered by its scenery. The abandoned ski resort makes for an interesting location and while the amount of detritus that the characters find strewn around is realistic, it occasionally fills the frame with too much “stuff” for the audience to know what to focus on. This is a problem that pops up a lot in horror films (another, more egregious example, is The Woman In Black remake) and is hardly unique to Cold Prey. That being said, this is a small aesthetic complaint.

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Cold Prey is a solid slasher film, with an interesting premise, solid acting, and a very tight production. It also has one of the most unfortunate English dubs that I’ve ever encountered. I don’t think I can emphasis enough how terrible it was. AVOID THE FUCKING DUB.

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Ahem. In other words, Cold Prey doesn’t do anything really surprising, but it’s a solid entry into the slasher subgenre. I enjoyed it more than I expected, and I will be watching the other two films in the Cold Prey trilogy as soon as I can find copies that aren’t dubbed.