What happens when you substitute an abandoned hotel in the snowy Norwegian mountains for an abandoned cabin in the woods?  You get Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt), a Norwegian horror movie that is strictly by the numbers.

After an opening where a young boy with a birthmark around his left eye is running in a blizzard, and narration lists numerous people who vanish in the Norwegian snowstorms, we get our designated victims, er, young adults.  Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), Eirik (Tomas Alf Larsen), Mikal (Endre Martin Midtstigen), Ingunn (Viktoria Winge), and Morten (Rolf Kristian Larsen) are friends -- and two couples -- who head deep into the mountains for a day of skiing and snowboarding.  It's a great time for everyone -- until Morten crashes and breaks his leg.

For some reason, instead of driving Morten back into town, they decide to take him to a nearby building to spend the night.  The place turns out to be a hotel/lodge that's been abandoned since the 1970s.  Once they settle in, a quick exploration of the place reveals several oddities, like a severely burned room, a final note in the guestbook hoping that someone finds their missing boy, and -- foreshadowing! -- a missing pickaxe.

It doesn't take long for flashes of a mysterious person to start zooming past the camera.  And soon the killing starts...

I wish I could find something original or interesting in Cold Prey, but I couldn't.   The main characters are paper thin, while the bad guy doesn't even have the potential for an iconic trait that most slasher movies try for.  There are a few nice slow shots of the decrepit, abandoned hallways, and the realization that they're not alone is handles well; but simply using snow to strand several young adults in isolation with a psychotic killer doesn't make Cold Prey different than most slasher horror flicks.

Overall grade: C
Reviewed by James Lynch

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