Fresh Cuts: Cold Ground (2017) (France)

Spoilers will be coming fast and strong, so if you want to go in as blindly as I did just stop reading and see the damn the movie. If you’re a fan of found footage (I am) I will assure you that this flick kicks major ass and is one of the best found footage flicks I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a shit ton). If you can’t get past the shaky cam and usual FF hijinks ya may just want to avoid this little gem.

In January of 1976 two journalists head to the French/Swiss border in hopes of striking it famous (at least French television famous) by covering a sensational story happening in the mountains. Livestock has gone missing, a strange biological agent has been found present in the soil and an unexplainable temperature drop has a team of biologists scratching their heads. There has also been a horse found mutilated in the middle of the woods with its internal and sexual organs missing. They arrive in a nearby town and are greeted by a professor who is part of the research project tracking the anomalies up in the mountains. Sadly he has lost radio contact with the researchers up at the mountain base and they have yet to make their scheduled return. A small team will be leaving tomorrow to check on the missing group consisting of their French guide, an English animal biologist and an investigator from Colorado who had been looking into similar animal mutilations in the United States. The journalists decide to tag along and document the journey.

That’s some….cold ground

The elements do what they do but the small crew manage to get by thanks to their guide’s expertise and all of them generally getting along. Things begin to unsettle when they hear strange shrieks in the night and find butchered animal carcasses near wherever they set up camp. When mutilated human remains pop up, they realize that they need to get their asses to the mountain campsite before night falls again. An avalanche takes out their guide and injures our camera operator and when they get to the camp they find it completely destroyed. They stumble across the skinned body of one of the researchers and immediately discover what has been causing havoc in the Swiss Alps.

Swiss dread

Up until this point they have been guiding the viewer down the path of surgery happy aliens being the culprit with all their animal mutilation talk and bent tree discoveries but it’s not aliens at all. It’s a pack of fucking werewolf like creatures! Fucking werewolves!!!! It’s a hell of a slight of hand and put a huge smile on my face. Now I don’t know if they are exactly werewolves as there’s no transformation sequence and they may just be manlike wolf creatures but I’m sure as hell not complaining. After they strike it eventually gets down to the two journalists trying to get out of the woods in one piece but it looks less and less likely there will be any survivors. There’s still a discovery to be made in an underground cave which sets up a sequel/prequel that I eagerly await.

Big can of sassy

Filmed on location in the Swiss Alps, you can feel the cold in your bones. The small cast is likable and not one of them gets on the nerves and there are bursts of surprising violence (a foot amputation had me squirming). The usual excuses are made for the continued filming (this time around its thanks to a jammed lamp which only works when the camera is on) and there’s some fine shaking going on. I believe the monsters are of the man in the suite variety and any cg is perfectly hidden by the quality of film. I loved this movie and can’t recommend it enough. 10/10

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