Collecting slasher films isn't like many other vices; in the realm of the teen-kill completist, the good stuff is popular for a reason and afterwards there's a barren landscape of trash, crap and pond-scum horror. Every now and then, you'll come upon a film that makes it all worthwhile: Cold Prey is one of them.
The American approach to 'improving' the cut-and-dried stalk n' slash opus is to make it gorier and funnier (see: Hatchet) and self referential (Behind the Mask). Fun as those films are, they do little to involve the viewer any more in what's going on, concentrating too much on the effects work to bother carving out good characters who the audience might, God forbid, care about!
In Cold Prey there are no obnoxious teens with 'Please Kill Me' stamped on their foreheads, no explicitly dumb behaviour and a restrained level of bloodshed. This latter point may disappoint some horror fans but then the more cineliterate/mature viewer will find a lot to like about this bleak, gloomy festival of tension.
The relationships between the characters are more complex here than found in most genre examples and it all feeds well into their eventual fates, as the hulking Jason-like killer (equipped for his snowbound living arrangements) skulks the halls of the abandoned ski-lodge, attacking those who think they are alone. This is a film that maximises the tension of the situation with simple set-ups and realistic reactions as escape plans are thwarted and numbers dwindle until only likeable heroine Jannicke is left.
The finale is great, if not reminiscent of a scene from Hostel, and a 2008 sequel should hopefully recapture some of the edge-of-your-seat nail-biting on parade here. A proper horror film from a genre that's been saturated by comparative rubbish over the last decade, Cold Prey shows us that excellence can be found in simple storytelling.