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Film / Cold Prey

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"You'll catch your death."

Cold Prey (original title Fritt Vilt, which translates to "open season") is a 2006 Norwegian horror/slasher film, directed by Roar Uthaug and starring Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Endre Martin Midtstigen and Viktoria Winge. A sequel Cold Prey II (Fritt Vilt II, also known as Cold Prey: Resurrection) was released in 2008 and was directed by Mats Stenberg. This was then followed by a prequel Cold Prey III in 2010.

The trilogy uses a lot of common Slasher Movie tropes and clichés, while subverting a few at the same time. Although the common tropes make the events that unfold in the films somewhat predictable, the acting, cinematography and genuinely foreboding atmosphere won over audiences and critics.

The first film follows a group of five friends - Jannicke, Eirik, Morten Tobias, Mikal and Ingunn - as they drive into the mountains of Jotunheimen for a day of snowboarding. Unfortunately, things turn sour when Morten has an accident, breaking his leg. Miles away from civilization, with the car too far away and realizing that Morten's injury cannot be treated in the wilderness, the group spots a nearby hotel and decide to seek help there.

Upon their arrival, they discover that there is no one to be found at the hotel. After treating Morten's injury with supplies found within the building, the group decides to seek shelter for the night, with the intention of going for help in the morning. Eirik, Mikal and Ingunn go off to explore, while Jannicke stays and looks after Morten. The first three discover the electric generator of the hotel. Eirik fixes it, restoring power to the hotel. Afterwards, the three discover some odd things within the building, including a fire axe cabinet (with the fire axe missing), a burnt-out room with a broken window, a bathroom with strange stains in it, and Eirik hears a strange, unidentified noise. Thinking little of it, they all return to the parlor. As they are all relaxing, Jannicke finds the hotel's guestbook and discovers that the last guest checked in sometime during 1975. Under the names of the last registered guests, there is a message reading: "We hope you find your son".

What they don't realize, however, is that they are being watched...

The second film picks up where the first ended and brings the story to a conclusion. The third film shows the killer doing his thing in the eighties.

These films contain examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Much of the second film is set within a nearly-empty hospital.
  • Abusive Parents: Mountain Man's father Gunnar abused him and forced him to live in the basement. His mother just looked the other way
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Towards the end of the sequel, Camilla turns up to save Jannicke from the Mountain Man.
    • Earlier in the same film, Ole turns up at the last moment to stop the Mountain Man from killing Camilla.
  • Blatant Lies: After Morten suffers a particularly nasty breakage in his leg, Jannicke tells him that it's just "a small fracture" to try and keep him calm.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Jannicke delivers one to the Mountain Man, just to make sure he's really dead this time.
  • Buried Alive: The killer's parents attempted to do this to him in 1976.
  • Camera Abuse: When Morten is killed, blood splatters onto the lens.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Morten towards Jannicke. Towards the end of the first film, he tries to tell her that he loves her, but can't finish his sentence. Jannicke replies that she already knows.
  • Caught in a Snare: The killer catches Officer Kim with such a trap in the second film.
  • Chase Scene: The first film opens with a little boy being chased around in the snow.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The shotgun shell in the first film, and the "box of junk" in the second.
  • Creepy Child: The killer became one after his parents tried to kill him.
  • Dangerous Windows: The killer attacks Jannicke's company in the police car through its windows in the second film.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: Jannicke aims the shotgun at a door, knowing that the Mountain Man is going to have to come through it. However, when the door opens, he is holding Eirik in front of him. Tobias realizes what is happening to knock the shotgun aside just as Jannicke fires.
  • Disney Villain Death: The killer seemingly dies in the first film when he falls into a crevasse. As it turns out, it wasn't quite enough to kill him.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: The horror starts in the third film when the main cast decides to spent a night in the woods.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Happens when Jannicke is struggling with the Mountain Man at the climax of the first film.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: In spite of being mortally wounded, Ole is able to make his way out of the hospital and manages to save Camilla's life by shooting the Mountain Man. He dies of his wounds very shortly after.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Einar in the prequel starts going through the papers of the Stenoe Mountain Lodge case, he realizes that he saw the missing boy's sweater in his brother's home back in 1976 after seeing one of the photo's depicting him.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The first film takes place over two days.
  • Eye Scream: The Mountain Man tries (and fails) to gouge out Camilla's eyes with his thumbs towards the end of the sequel.
  • The Faceless: The Mountain Man has his face covered most of the time, to protect him from the harsh environment (and because it looks imposing).
  • Fan Disservice: Ingunn in nothing but her underwear? Nice. The fact that she's just taken a pickaxe to the shoulder, is covered in her own blood and about to die? Not so nice.
  • Fingore: The Mountain Man gets two of his fingers blown off with a shotgun in the sequel. This doesn't seem to cause him much pain - it just makes him angry.
  • From Dress to Dressing: After Morten breaks his leg in the first movie, Jannicke gets Ingunn to pass her her spare shirt from her pack and uses it to splint Morten's leg.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: In the car trip to the mountain, Morten mentions (very unconvincingly) that he has a girlfriend and that they have sex several times a day.
  • Handicapped Badass: In spite of not being able to walk properly due to his broken leg, Morten is still willing to do his best to slow down the Mountain Man in order to let Jannicke escape.
  • Heal It with Booze: In the first film, Jannicke uses high proof alcohol to disinfect the compound fracture on Morten's leg where the bone is poking through the skin.
  • Helpless Window Death: Mikal steps into a bear trap and gets killed by the Mountain Man while Jannicke and Morten Tobias watch from a window, unable to help.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Morten opts to stay behind and fight off the Mountain Man, partly by attempting to bluff him, in order to give Jannicke a chance to escape.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end of the sequel, the Mountain Man is impaled through the chest with his own pickaxe.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Einar arrives at Jon's place in third film when Siri is there, but just when she tries to alert him, Jon grabs her.
    • A particularly cruel one happens in the first film. Ingunn, bleeding and weakened, is right in the entrance of the parlour - but, as she's too weak to cry out and Mikal is blasting loud music, no-one hears or sees her.
  • Hospital Hottie: Camilla and Audhild. With the latter, Sverre definitely seems to think so. Audhild even admits to Sverre that one of the reasons she wanted to be a nurse in the first place was because of the fact that some guys like nurse uniforms.
  • Hostile Weather: Strong wind builds up outside the hotel in the first as the cast take shelter there.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Mountain Man isn't fazed in the second film when he is shot. He also takes two shots point-blank from Simen in the third film, though there is a possibility that he just missed.
  • Kick the Dog: The Mountain Man (either knowingly or unknowingly) keeps Eirik alive, uses him as a human shield, then stabs him with his pickaxe as Jannicke and Morten can only watch in horror. In the second film, he knocks out Audhild, just so he can drag her to the shower, prop her up, and wait for her to wake up before he kills her.
  • Knee Capping: Jannicke stabs the Mountain man in the knee in the climax of the first film.
  • Made of Iron: The second film reveals that the Mountain Man survived the damage done to him in the first film. And then some.
  • Madman in the Attic: The killer was kept locked up in the basement by his parents when he was little.
  • Make-Out Kids: Mikal and Ingunn in the first film. They spend the car trip to the mountain making out in the backseat next to an uncomfortable Morten Tobias. Later, when everyone is trapped in the abandoned hotel, they decide to go find a room they can have sex in.
  • Nightmare Sequence: After being sedated in the sequel, Jannicke has a nightmare of the Mountain Man attacking her.
  • No Name Given: The name of the killer is never revealed - he is merely credited as "Fjellmannen", which translates to Mountain Man.
  • Not Quite Dead: The Mountain in the sequel. It is also revealed that he was literally born not quite dead, as he was stillborn for hours before coming back to life suddenly.
  • Once is Not Enough: Jannicke is experienced enough to know this by the sequel. After impaling the Mountain Man with his own pickaxe, she grabs the nearby police shotgun, strides up to his body, and blows his brains out.
  • Playing with Syringes: Jannicke arms herself with a full syringe when things start to go downhill in the hospital.
  • Police Are Useless: The local police force's investigative methods have a lot to improve on. Averted, however, in the sense that they do go to investigate the crevasse almost immediately after hearing Jannicke's story.
  • Powerful Pick: The Mountain Man uses a pickaxe as his weapon of choice in the first two films.
  • The Reveal: The Mountain Man is the little boy from the beginning of the first film and his parents tried to kill him.
  • Sad Clown: Morten Tobias in the first film. He may be the joker of the group, but it's obvious that he is in love with Jannicke, but can't have her as she is in love with Eirik.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The prequel opens with the killer retaliating on his parents for the attempt on his life.
  • Series Continuity Error: Gunnar is missing his beard in the third film.
  • Sex Signals Death: Averted. Ingunn, who is still a virgin, refuses to have sex with Mikal as she doesn't feel quite ready yet. She is the first character to die.
  • Shower Scene: Audhild in the sequel has one after her shift is over. Interestingly, the scene is set up in a tense fashion, making one assume that she's going to meet her untimely end there. She doesn't - at that point in time, anyway. To elaborate, she is knocked out by the Mountain Man in the hospital corridor before he actually drags her back into the shower, waits for her to wake up, and then proceeds to smash her head in with a fire extinguisher.
  • Slashed Throat: The first thing that the Mountain Man does in the second film after waking up is slash Sverre's throat open.
  • Throwing the Distraction: In the first film, Tobias throws a spanner at the door to the Mountain Man's hidden room in the cellar to attract his attention.
  • Trophy Room: Jannicke and Mikal find the killer's collection of stuff from his past victims in the first film.
  • Uranus Is Showing: In the first film, Morten gets drunk and tells Jannicke a story about the first time he got drunk. He as at school and his next class was physics. When the teacher asked him a question about Uranus, he replied "How the hell should I know? I've never seen your anus!".note 
  • Wrench Whack: Herman throws a wrench at the killer when he meets him.

Alternative Title(s): Cold Prey 2, Cold Prey 3