Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
This October I decided to watch and review some of those great horror movies (31 to be exact) that I missed on their initial release. And for Part 25 of my series of the 31 OF THE BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU (MAY HAVE) MISSED we will be checking out serial killer horror/thriller Cold Hell. Let’s get to it:
Day 25 of 31: Cold Hell (2017)
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Starring: Violetta Schurawlow, Tobias Moretti, Sammy Sheik
IMDb Trivia: The film’s title “cold hell” refers to Zamhareer, the cold part of Jahannam. Jahannam is the Islamic equivalent of Hell
Plot: A vicious serial killer is targeting prostitutes in Vienna, Austria. A tough young woman from Turkey who works as a taxi driver witnesses one of the murders and becomes a target. The police are of no help, so she must stop him herself.
Review: What feels like a mash-up between The Marathon Man (1976) and classic serial killer films like Blood and Black Lace (1964), Cold Hell is a thriller with horror elements that are inspired by giallo style made famous by directors like Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci. But unlike those films that tended to be more exploitative when it came to depicting the deaths of its mostly female victims, Oscar-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky minimises the brutality (it’s more about what you don’t see than what you do) and focuses his efforts on the female revenge elements.
Those elements are brought to life by actress Violetta Schurawlow who plays Ozge, a Turkish woman who works as a cab driver. Ozge on the surface comes across as cold and distant to those around her, even those who she calls friends (there’s a reason for this that’s eventually revealed). And her way of dealing with the sexism and racism her job brings her way is to pummel the crap out of her sparring partners at her local gym. Schurawlow does a wonderful job of playing this woman whose icy demeanour hides vulnerability and a deeply caring heart. She reminded me of Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Ozge’s life goes from difficult to nightmarish when she witnesses a man disposing of a woman’s body and ultimately becomes his next target.
The strength of this thriller lies in it its ability to grab your attention with tightly-directed, fast-paced action sequences. The action comes in waves and is broken up by slower moments that delve into what makes Ozge the person she is. This familial drama does take up a bit too much time in my opinion, and I think the story would’ve benefited from more time spent with the killer and figuring out who he was. The men in this movie are also written with mostly one-dimensional characteristics, granted a lot gets lost in translation here as this German-Austrian film suffers from some terrible dubbing which can pull you out of a dramatic scene like nothing else can. That said, there’s enough here for me to call this one a win.
I could easily see Cold Hell being remade for English audiences, with it’s adrenaline pumping action sequence and tough-as-nails leading lady. Throw in those horror elements and a serial killer on a mission from “God” (isn’t that always the case?) and you have yourself a solid thriller for those like myself, who enjoy this sort of thing.
Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10
You can check out Part 24 of my 31 Days List and Australian horror Wolf Creek 2 below together with Part 8 on my list, Berberian Sound Studio.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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