Some great horror films have been coming out of the Nordic countries, including Let the Right One In, Room 206, and the superior Slasher, Cold Prey. Now, from Sweden, comes Blood Runs Cold.
In Blood Runs Cold, a musician, Winona, returns to her home town and a house her manager has rented for her. Deeming the somewhat dilapidated building creepy, she invites an old boyfriend, Richard, and his two friends, Carl and Liz, to spend the first night there with her.
Blood Runs Cold is a perfect example of the ways by which Slasher films benefit from winter settings. The snow-choked surroundings add to the sense of isolation, and the low, grey skies lend an ominous feel to daytime scenes. Blood Runs Cold, in fact, takes full advantage of the environment, filming the bare trees, the iron-wool clouds, and the bleak-looking cabin in shades of blues and greys. The film is beautifully shot, the filmmakers creating a subtle tension through lighting and camera position. A major accomplishment considering a tiny budget.
Character interactions, however, fall largely flat. Tension and mood grow as long as only one character is onscreen, but the moment a second or third player comes into the shot, the moment they begin to converse, things get clumsy, sometimes even a tad embarrassing. The dialogue is inane and stilted; the actors aren`t terrible, but their accents (the film was evidently shot in English, not dubbed) make them sound lifeless, hollow.
Dialogue involving Carl is especially painful. Carl is a consummate doorknob and comes off like a teenager who has just recently discovered sex and so just won’t shut up about it—but his just-barely-post-adolescent obsession with sex also bespeaks a guy who doesn’t have much experience and is determined to prove otherwise. It’s weird and Carl is spectacularly annoying.
The film also suffers from character reactions that simply do not ring true. This is especially true of reactions to the discovery of blood. In one scene, Winona comes across a huge puddle of blood on the kitchen floor. After barely batting an eye, she calmly and quietly mops up the gore. In another scene, Richard finds a trail of blood in the snow leading into the surrounding woods. He then spots a mysterious figure carrying an axe. What does Richard do? Follow the blood and the man.
It is this unrealistic decision of Richard’s, however, that leads us to a rather surprising discovery. See, though Blood Runs Cold is a mostly typical Slasher premise-wise, it becomes quite clear that its killer is anything but typical. This is a fun, oddly unsettling killer who kept the shocks and intrigue coming not only through his behaviour but by way of his very nature. This is one killer who’ll likely have you muttering “What the hell?” on more than one occasion.
The kills are sudden and bloody; sure to satisfy any Slasher fan. Unfortunately, the tension dips at times, the pace off, and that, combined with the bad dialogue and unbelievable character decisions, serves to sink the film. The movie’s enigmatic, creepy killer and expert photography deserved a stronger script.
If you’re a diehard Slasher fan and might be satisfied by a well-shot setting and a rather original killer, than you might want to give Blood Runs Cold a watch. Otherwise, just skip it.
Length: 80 min