Way back in August of 2009 I wrote a review over at Paracinema for Fritt Vilt (aka Cold Prey), a Norwegian Slasher flick that made a pretty solid splash on the horror genre in 2006. From what I recall, I quite liked the film, so I figured it was high time I took another trip to the frigid mountains of Norway for a little slaughter in the snow with the 2008 sequel, Fritt Vilt 2.
Fritt Vilt begins exactly where the last film left off, with the lone survivor, Jannicke (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) being taken to a hospital after she is discovered on the side of the road. Being found covered in blood and holding a pickaxe, the authorities are naturally present for questioning when Jannicke awakens. She tells them the story of how her friends were murdered and dumped in a deep mountain crevasse and how she was able to overcome the killer and send him down the same crevasse to join her friends in death. The authorities aren't quite sure what to make of her story at first; is she lying or is everything she has told them, as crazy as it all sounds, the truth?
The police immediately investigate the area where this all took place, and after finding the bodies of her friends and the killer, they are brought back to the hospital morgue which happens to be where Jannicke is being treated. Now, considering this is a sequel to a Slasher film, it should be obvious where the film might go from that point, so I'll just say that when you bring the presumed killer to the same hospital where the previous film's final girl is being taken care of, well, things are going to happen. Namely murder.
As you may have already noticed, Fritt Vilt 2 takes a lot of "inspiration" from 1981's Halloween 2, specifically in its setting and how it takes off at the same point in which the first film landed. However, unlike Halloween 2 (which is a film that I adore, mind you), Fritt Vilt 2 is far from the bigger, stronger, faster, but infinitely less competent sequel that Halloween 2 is. In fact, I am more than confident in saying that what director Mats Stenberg (who took over for Fritt Vilt director, Roar Uthaug) did with Fritt Vilt 2 is piece together a sequel that not only goes toe-to-toe with its forefather, it surpasses it.
Now, while I did enjoy Uthaug's Fritt Vilt, I did have a few minor quibbles with it, namely being that there simply weren't enough kills. To top it off, with a runtime of 98 min, mixed with a body count that can be counted on one hand, the film ran a little long. In fact, in my review of that film I specifically stated that it should have been at least ten minutes shorter. Thankfully, both of these issues are addressed in Fritt Vilt 2. Not only are there a few more kills, but this installment comes in at a brisk 86 min, which makes for a perfectly balanced modern day Slasher film. However, the most important aspect of what makes Fritt Vilt 2 a superb sequel is the fact that it not only fixes the few nagging issues that Fritt Vilt had, it does so without losing even an ounce of quality, something that is sort of unheralded when it comes to a Slasher film, let alone a sequel to one.
Trading in the confines of an abandoned ski resort for a remotely located hospital on the verge of shutting down (for reasons that are never dwelled upon), Fritt Vilt 2 delivers a setting that feels cold, empty and perfect for stalking. The backdrop, as well as the film as a whole, is brought to life quite nicely by cinematographer Anders Flatland, who clearly knows how to make great use of the hospital setting. While the film is technically impressive, one of the biggest compliments I must hand out are for the deep and cleverly written characters. I appreciate the fact that the characters are full of honest dialogue that proves to be refreshingly confident in its audience's intelligence level. These characters and their interactions with each other feel genuine and true to real life, specifically when it comes to the new female lead, Camilla, who is wonderfully portrayed by Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik.
Like the first film, Fritt Vilt 2 also makes way for some very strong, respectably written female characters. From the returning heroine Jannicke, who is still in complete survival mode, and the compassionate Camilla, to all of the minor female characters, these women are treated as real people, not empty headed eye candy waiting to be slaughtered. It's always refreshing to have female characters in a Slasher film treated in such a way, and when you add that dimension to a film that already does so many things right, great things can happen. And they certainly do, as the end result is a film that brings in all of the best attributes of its predecessor, while leaving behind all of its issues to present the audience with what I consider to be one of the best Slasher films of the last decade.