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Cold Ground - TetroVideo Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Jay Creepy   
Saturday, 11 May 2019


Severed Cinema review of Cold Ground from TetroVideo

Directed by: Fabien Delage
Written by: Fabien Delage
Produced by: Fabien Delage, Evelyne Phan
Cinematography by: Geoffrey Blandin
Editing by: Fabien Delage
Special Effects by: David Scherer, Kyle Thompson
Cast: Gala Besson, Geoffrey Blandin, Maura Tillay, Doug Rand, Fabrice Pierre, Philip Schurer
Year: 2017
Country: France
Language: French/ English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1hr 26mins

Studio: Redwood Creek Films

Distribution: TetroVideo

Another review and another sharp release from the mob at TetroVideo. Cold Ground is a 2017 chiller (ho-ho-ho) flick from Fabien Delage – a chap who's done a few shorts and stuff but this is, so far, his only feature length movie. Tetro have bagged distribution rights for it and daubed it with a neat cover, like their other releases, making their arsenal easily recognisable.

What we have here is one of those hopefully not goofy 'found footage' ones, but as we see, the makers have done everything possible to make the footage appear to have been shot back in the mid ‘70s -- even down to the colour-drained crackly style. We're deep in 1976, and two French journalists, a man and a woman, are heading for the French and Swiss border with subtitles on screen. They're going to investigate the fact that over twenty livestock have gone missing. The young fella laments that it isn't very exciting, no one has died so is it even a criminal case? His travelling partner states they don't know everything yet so it could well be a criminal case. There's apparently a team of biologists working on the area as well because a theory is some sort of disease. This does not impress David either, worrying over a risk of contamination.

Arriving at night into the “last refuge before the mountains” our duo meet and greet Gunter, a scientist from the UK. So we switch off the subtitles for now. Gunter sits and explains about a bacteria that has been discovered on the mountain glaciers which is mutating. No one knows what it is yet. Melissa conducts an in-depth interview with him for the camera and they soon meet, Blake, who walks in saying he is unable to make contact with the other team up above on the mountain who dwell in a settlement. Over dinner they discuss having to head up there and meet them.

Morning comes and they rendezvous with Daniel (a guide) and Lori-Ann (biologist). On the way, Melissa speaks to members of the party just to fill in their documentary. At one point, whilst the two girls huddle together at camp eating, Lori-Ann explains why the place they are going to is nicknamed, Cold Ground. It's the coldest place on the mountain. Further up the trail the gang come across the remains of a dead cow -- head caved in, totally mutilated. There are traces of radiation as well.

Daniel explains to Melissa that he cannot contact Gunter back on the ground, possibly due to the shortwave radios or whatever. He isn't too worried yet. However on the third night camping out, they discover animal tracks and the remains of a human being. “This is now officially a criminal investigation.” states Blake, whilst finding a definite human jawbone amongst the torn flesh. They decide to get to their destination and ring for the police, because things are way beyond just cattle now! For a few brief seconds, bizarre noise emits from the walkie-talkie as Daniel attempts to call Gunter again. “Your walkie-talkie doesn't work properly up here!” Blake says to calm everyone down upon hearing it.

Soon after they run from an avalanche and lose Daniel amongst the chaos. The four survivors are left only to keep going and hopefully get help. However, the further up they go, the worst the horrors become...

Cold Ground is a nice well-paced slow burner. That's an apt way to describe this little gem. There is an unbelievably large amount of tension beyond the halfway mark and what makes Cold Ground so much better is that the cast are so real, and very likeable.

Fabien takes the wise decision not to rush things too much as he tells the story. When it's time to start unleashing the horrific elements, he delivers in shovels. There's gore, jump shocks -- the works in this one. If I have one gripe, the final act does become an eternity to wade through. I feel the pace could have been upped for it. The element of suspense is somewhat lost. In my humble view, the chases were very much same as before and added little until the last ten minutes or so when there's a change of scenery. Unfortunate then, the overall conclusion is a slight bit underwhelming considering all the build-up we have endured.

I'm sure many will compare this to the Blair Witch series, but I'd like to compare it with a compliment to the old Hammer classic, The Abominable Snowman (incidentally if you watch that one, you'll find many chunks were borrowed for the original Blair Witch) in as the creation of a mood which coats the whole film like the snow they all travel through. A slinky piece of REC and a dash of The Descent could be tasted for added spice.

One thing is certain, the small cast, concentrated into a blizzard of terrors and emotional roller coasters gives Cold Ground its foundations along with, like I said before, likeable characters. The acting is on point throughout, especially from Gala Besson as Melissa and Doug Rand who solemnly plays Blake Turner. Doug has a lengthy CV crammed with films, videogame voiceovers and TV series. (Added Creepy props to Maura Tillay as Lori-Ann, for her acting, even though she only seems to have only worked in this film -- and the fact she's rather cute... I never said anywhere over the years that I was a professional did I? Hehehe).

Cold Ground is entertainment, and is a scary kind. It's not very original in its idea, but it's well-filmed and the locations generate acute dread as the film moves at its leisurely pace. Worth checking out as a quick late evening thrill.




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