In late 2007, I caught a Norwegian slash flick called Fritt Vilt (that's Cold Prey) and here's what I said in my review: "You've seen this movie many (many) times before, but there's always room for another solid slasher flick, particularly one that's clearly made with some real care and craftsmanship." Then in early 2009 I sat down with Cold Prey 2, and my review offered this bit of enthusiasm: "No snark, no irony, just a whip-nasty, well-shot, tightly-cut slasher movie with a bad attitude, a very slick style, and only the slightest of smirks on its face."
And now, in April of 2011, I'm here to share with you a thought or two on the inevitable Cold Prey 3, and the first one is this: "The Cold Prey producers were so intent on copying the '80s slasher formula -- down to the smallest detail -- that now they're back with a Part 3 that's so terrible it demolishes all the good will laid down by the first two flicks." Yes, even the quality of foreign slasher retreads has a sliding scale, and while Cold Prey and Cold Prey 2 did a fine job of injecting a little bit of color into a very standard package ... this third one feels like something that was slapped together in a big hurry because someone wanted to strike while the franchise still had a little bit of support behind it.
And speaking as only one of the early American cheerleaders for the Cold Prey series, I must sadly report that the third chapter is as aimless, generic, and tiresome as slasher knock-offs get, which wouldn't be all that big a deal if it didn't exist as a prequel to two surprisingly fun horror imports. Ah yes, Cold Prey 3 is of course a prequel. Because surely we need a 90-minute rehash of a simple plot thread that was covered well (and rather expeditiously) in the original movie. True, there's only a cosmetic difference between "killer stalks morons in the woods" and "killer stalks morons in the woods twenty years ago," but the prequel approach indicates a creative team that knows little about horror films, so they chose the most obvious path for part 3: dig in to the killer's backstory. Because that worked so well for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel and the infinitely noxious Halloween remake.
When a true student, advocate, and lover of slasher films tells you that "nothing happens" in a flick of this sort, you should trust him. Aside from its frankly lazy "prequel" pitch, Cold Prey 3 is little more than a faceless group of idiots who get stalked by a mysterious killer. Oops, the killer is mysterious only to the victims, you see, because we've already seen Cold Prey and Cold Prey 2 ... thereby negating any sort of tension regarding the killer -- or questions as to whether he'll survive the end of the flick.
The first Cold Prey had a hook: it took place in incongruously beautiful mountains covered with snow. The second film found its own angle by taking inspiration from the "all in one night" horror sequels like 1981's Halloween 2. And now comes the wholly disappointing Cold Prey 3, which offers nothing in the way of memorable faces, clever ideas, unique settings, or novel dispatches. It's the sort of mercenarily-produced sequel that killed slasher flicks in the first place -- thereby opening the door for movies like Cold Prey to pay homage. As is often the case in the horror business, what was once cool and novel has been beaten to death by simple greed.
Oh, and there's virtually no snow in Cold Prey 3, which is sort of like a Friday the 13th flick without a summer camp of some variety. And we all remember what those chapters looked like.