1881 Post Street at Fillmore
San Francisco, California

In this spectacularly scary slasher film, five snowboarders encounter an axe-wielding assassin in an abandoned ski lodge. The scenario is established quickly and efficiently by first-time director Roar Uthaug, who brings a Scandinavian chill to the genre. An opening prologue shows the disappearance of a young boy into a mountain crevasse. A run of newspaper articles about skiers continually going missing on this same mountain follows. So when a vanload of college students heads to the slopes for Easter break, it’s pretty easy to surmise the horrors waiting in store. The quintet is comprised of two hot-and-heavy couples and a lone guy named Tobias who has romantic longings for one of the paired-off women. There’s not much time for him to pine though, because poor Tobias suffers a nasty accident near the mountain’s peak on the group’s first day of vacation. Spotting a nearby building, the friends carry their fallen compatriot there to wait out the night, little knowing that their choice of lodging will prove fatal. Screenwriter Thomas Moldestad reinvigorates the horror genre by imbuing his vivid characters with distinct personalities—it’s genuinely affecting to see some of them iced. There is suspenseful fun to be had as well, piecing together the killer’s motivations as our comely collegiates are picked off one by one. Upping the tension are wintry cinematography and expert use of music and sound effects throughout. Like last year’s surprise hit The Descent (SFIFF 2006), Cold Prey is a truly satisfying viewing experience and a redoubtable reminder that great slasher films are alive and well.

—Rod Armstrong

Official Website: http://fest07.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=23

Added by kpsmart on April 28, 2007

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