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Cold Ground

Cold Ground (2017) Movie Poster
France  •    •  86m  •    •  Directed by: Fabien Delage.  •  Starring: Doug Rand, Philip Schurer, Gala Besson, Fabrice Pierre, Maura Tillay..
        1976: Two young journalists leave for the French-Swiss border to investigate a strange case of cattle mutilations and record testimonies for a TV channel. Yet, once they get there, the scientific team they were supposed to meet has gone missing. Escorted by a first-aider, a British biologist and an American forensic investigator, Melissa and David will go looking for the missing team deep into the mountains.


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Image from: Cold Ground (2017)
Image from: Cold Ground (2017)
Image from: Cold Ground (2017)
Image from: Cold Ground (2017)
Image from: Cold Ground (2017)
Image from: Cold Ground (2017)
Image from: Cold Ground (2017)
is wait until half the movie is over to develop any sort of tension. The primary advantages of FF movies are low budget and less expectation of professional filmography. But this same lack of budget and inability to film high-budget set shots means you have to reach the audience in other ways. There's a reason why most FF movies tend to fall into the horror genre -- the shortcomings can most easily be compensated for by developing tension over the unseen (or a really remarkable script filled with world-class dialogue, but you don't need to actually go the FF route for that...just point a camera at a spot and let characters talk.) That was the primary downfall of this movie -- it was just so plodding and dull for the first half of its runtime that it became something of a chore to watch. None of the characters were overly interesting, so no relief from that direction. Melissa was pretty enough, but eye candy alone, especially eye candy that spends most of the movie bundled up except for a couple (obligatory?) PG-13 scenes, doesn't remotely fix the problem.

And there were problems galore that might have been overlooked, or at least downplayed, had the movie managed to keep us engrossed from near the start. Just a few, off the top of my head:

Multiple characters -- scientists, in fact -- use the terms "bacteria" and "virus" interchangeably. They are not the same thing. The only thing they have in common, practically-speaking, is they are both very small, and even then, viruses are much smaller than bacteria.

For people that complain about the cold, several sure did lack an understanding of what hoods are for. Those flappy fur-lined things at the back of your necks? Not ornamental, my friends. This even continues when Melissa has either lost or just decided she didn't look good in, her knitted cap.

Apparently, it only took a two inch high avalanche to take out half the party. They even pull David out of snow approximately a couple inchesfew centimeters high and talk inanely about how he was lucky they saw the backpack. Compounding this was the fact that they didn't realize they were on the wrong side of the mountain toward the end despite the snow suddenly being calf-high with no major snow storm having hit in the interim -- a pretty good clue they weren't going down the way they came up. Even worse, while the snow level did go down to ankle-high in the forests (as it should) there were absolutely no bare patches visible, a fairly frequent phenomenon during their ascent.

I pondered this issue for most of the movie and couldn't come up with anything remotely what way is cutting through the woods (and up bare land, supposedly, toward the end) "easier" than following the road. It's not even a question of distance, since the guide specifically said their path through the woods would be longer. If the road to the camp had been paved and plowed, they could theoretically claim that the road was too icy to use (having lived in some very cold areas in my time, I can attest to that being a reasonable concern), but it was neither and, in any event, ice sufficient to prevent walking would also have prevented using the jeeps.

The conceit of the dedicated cameraman unwilling to lay aside hisher camera is central to "found footage" movies, so I generally give such movies a pass on the realistic chances of someone doing that. But this one was a bridge too far. Not only were they ascending a steep mountain semi-covered in snow, they were doing so in 1976. They didn't have the super-compact digital equipment we have today (and even if they did, the blips and splotches were deliberately added to make certain we knew this was supposed to be actual film.) It made sense toward the end, for the very reasons given (though the particular breakdown that made it necessary was somewhat overly convenient) but the move was 75% over by then.

I sincerely hope that these points I've addressed have occurred to the filmmakers since the movie came out, because this was a reasonably interesting concept, which is why I watched in the first place. I also hope they don't go to the trivia section of their next FF movie and claim people really believed (wrongly) that it was true. That was just a cheap and transparent marketing ploy there, one that didn't have as much effect when the filmmakers marked it a "Spoiler," thus ensuring it would never show up on the movie's main page.

Review by GreyHunter from the Internet Movie Database.