A few months back I was pleasantly surprised by an under-the-radar French import entitled High Lane. Despite being grafted together from two or three familiar components, the mile-high horror flick won me over through sheer force of pacing, energy, and style. And now I'm back with another low-budget import that also covers those bases unexpectedly well: it's an Argentinian arrival called Cold Sweat, and while it offers very little that's actually unique, it also manages to combine some colorful old ideas and churn out something that's just fresh and stylish enough to work on its own. Plus it's got some pretty bad-ass suspenseful bits, and those are always fun.
The plot is amiably basic: a young couple break into a mysterious house in an effort to locate a missing girl. They've traced an IP address to the right location: a strange store-front operated by a pair of slow-moving old men. Suffice to say that our heroic young couple has the correct address indeed, and they're promptly plunged into a bizarre nightmare that feels like a fast-paced mixture of Saw, Hostel and The Wages of Fear / Sorcerer. (Well, not really, but the "new stuff"added to this mostly-familiar genre stew involves nitro-glycerin, and that's all I'm saying about that.
Frequently loose with logic but admirably fast-paced throughout, Cold Sweat acquits itself quite well in the realm of "fast-paced survival horror that breezes over its silliness through sheer force of suspense, gore, and a consistently slick visual presentation. (One particular explosion in Cold Sweat may soon have you reaching for the rewind button; you'll know it when you see it.) Also of great assistance is a lead actor who strikes a solid balance between gritty, horrified, and reluctantly heroic, a crazily kinetic pace, and some rather creative displays of carnage.
Basically: three old components, one new angle, a few novel jolts, and a nice quick delivery. No more, no less.