Judge Alice Nelson's blood runs red...red, white, and blue that is. Oohrah!
Horror Movie Rule #117: Never accept an invitation to stay at a creepy remote mountain cabin with a group of friends. Nothing good ever comes of it.
Facts of the Case
Winona (Hanna Oldenburg) is an artist who rents a cabin in the mountains near her old hometown in order to rest and unwind. The place is hardly palatial, and Winona escapes to a local watering hole where she meets her former boyfriend, Rick (Patrick Saxe), and his two friends, Carl (Andreas Rylander) and Liz (Elin Hugoson). Winona invites them to stay at the cabin with her (you would too if you saw this place), and they realize far too late that they are not alone.
Shot in Stockholm Sweden in 35 days for an estimated $5000, Blood Runs Cold is far better than a lot of movies with 20 times its budget. Using a Canon EOS 7D digital SLR, director Sonny Laguna shows that a good film can be shot without a major studio at the beck and call.
Let me say right off the bat, as far as the horror genre goes, Blood Runs Cold isn't breaking any new ground, but—and it's a big but—it takes the tired ol' 'twenty-something friends in a remote cabin stalked by a deranged killer' scenario to new heights. This is a surprisingly good horror flick. And I don't care what anyone says, some dude with his face wrapped in gauze, wearing goggles that conceal his eyes, is scary as hell; especially when done within the context of a well written script, and a very capable director.
Winona is believable as our heroine; the choices she makes with her life in imminent danger aren't mind numbingly frustrating. She doesn't cause you to scream at the television, so fed up that you begin rooting for her demise. In fact the entire cast is quite good—I mean none of them will win an Academy Award, or whatever the Swedish equivalent is for these performances, but they have nothing to be ashamed of. Blood Runs Cold feels much like Tobe Hooper's original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a very raw film going experience, with a judicious use of blood and violence, interlaced with an intriguing plotline.
This Swedish import was made way back in 2010, and as it is with many of these Nordic films, it took years before it reached our shores—better late than never I say. The Swedes and the Danes still seem enamored with the horror genre, and put good faith effort into their films. Their American counterparts appear jaded by the whole process, these days they're more concerned with doling out torture porn with an array of silicone boobs in place of a good story.
The big takeaway from Blood Runs Cold is this: Sonny Laguna and his co-writers David Liljeblad and Tommy Wiklund give hope to the talented filmmaker who can't seem to get Hollywood to take notice of their work. With a good script, decent acting, and a fine digital SLR; the small filmmaker can achieve the dream of seeing his 'baby' up on the big screen—or at least on DVD.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, this is a slickly shot film. The SLR provides some crystal clear images that were effectively altered post production. Sonny Laguna has quite the eye for shooting scenes from non-traditional angles, like following the progression of Winona's hand sliding lightly along the rail as she inspects a strange noise coming from one of the upstairs bedrooms, and a scene looking straight down the stairwell as the camera follows one character's trek up the steps. It all makes for a wonderfully tense experience. The Dolby Digital audio is very clean and easy to hear, and although it was a Swedish production, there are no subtitles because the actors are speaking flawless English. There is also a great soundtrack by Samir El Alaoui that sets the tone and provides tension, but isn't overbearing and doesn't take you out of the moment.
I am a horror genre fan, preferring a few jump scares and just a touch of gore. Blood Runs Cold provides those thrills and chills, and does so with a style that should make director Sonny Laguna a busy movie making maniac from here on out.
The Swedish Chef says: "Yer der schmer dor her der foomty." In other words, Not Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
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