Monday, July 11, 2022

Cold Skin (2017)

Streaming Service: Prime Video
Movie Name/Year: Cold Skin (2017)
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Length: 1h 48min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Babieka, Kanzaman, Ink Connection, Gran Babieka, Pontas Film & Literary Agency, The Ink Connection, Diamond Films, Happinet, Phars Film, Tiberius Film, Blue Swan Entertainment, Cinépolis Distribución, Condor, Eagle Entertainment, SC Movies, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Sunfilm Entertainment, Superfine Films, Televisión Española
Director: Xavier Gens
Writers: Jesús Olmo, Eron Sheean, Albert Sánchez Piñol
Actors: David Oakes, Ray Stevenson, Aura Garrido, Alejandro Rod, Ben Temple, Damián Montesdeoca, Iván González, John Benfield, Julien Blaschke, Winslow M. Iwaki
IMDb Blurb: A young man arrives at a remote island to take a post of weather observer only to find himself defending the watchtower from deadly creatures which live in the island shores.

Selina’s Point of View:
Cold Skin is, at heart, a monster movie.
When you go to see a monster flick, you know what to expect. Some decent action, some very basic tropes, an interesting design, and the end showing that humans are just as monstrous as the antagonists (if not more). Although there was a little of that in Cold Skin, it was not typical.
When it comes to monster movies, no one is expecting something that makes them think. The exception being Lovecraftian-style stories.
Cold Skin subverted expectations by being a very smart, almost poetic, film.
I was very surprised by that.

It started off with the Nietzsche quote about staring into the abyss and it staring back at you flashing on-screen. I’m not going to lie; I rolled my eyes. Although it’s a good quote, it is ridiculously overused. Then, about 16-minutes in, when the action finally started, I predicted something so closely that I could have held up the cue card for it.
I didn’t have high hopes.
It was only later, when the movie started to get into the heart of the story, that I took it seriously. If you can get to that point, the beginning is worth it.
One of the tropes I was immediately glad I didn’t have to deal with was the one where the protagonist refuses to believe the truth of what they’re seeing. There are no lengthy scenes of anyone explaining to him what the creatures are and trying to get him to believe his own eyes. Even before the rest of the movie had me, I found that impressive.
By the end of Cold Skin, I was a fan. It did take a bit, but once it had me – it never let go. 

Cat’s Point of View:
When I saw a movie titled “Cold Skin” on our docket for review today, I was hoping that it meant something other than people shivering in a frozen climate. While there was a little temperature-related trembling involved, I report with pleasure that it was not the central theme of the plot.
I decided on a whim to view Cold Skin blind. I didn’t watch the trailer or even read the blurb with the on-demand and Prime listings. Before I began writing, I did take a peek at the trailer. I am glad I went in this order. The trailer did give a good deal of the movie away.
Without foreknowledge of what was to come, there was more of an air of mystery about the story. To be fair, though, even with the teaser, some aspects wouldn’t be clear until the full movie unfolded.
Cold Skin started out as an apparent narrative of man vs. the elements and isolation, yet quickly revealed itself to be a fight for survival on multiple fronts with the monster revelation. Events started a bit on the slow side but once things picked up momentum, there was no ease to the building tensions or level of horror.

The creatures were fascinating and the situation was terrifying – considering the remote nature of the island setting. The practical effects really sold the aquatic cryptids in a very organic and believable way, as well as a stellar performance by the cast.
Cold Skin wasn’t without some of the typical monster movie tropes, but it didn’t lean too heavily on them. I appreciated the nuance and thought put into the erosion of humanity of learned and well-read men that the constant fight for survival, exhaustion, loss, and general stress caused. There were so many little details that spoke to the broader story. I really appreciated that this was just as much an intelligent horror as a thrilling sort.
While I began my viewing of Cold Skin with assorted fidget tools at the ready, anticipating I would begin to zone out at some point; I soon found that it held my attention thoroughly for its duration. I feel that I pieced most of the puzzle together, and yet the ending left me wanting more. That would be a decided earmark of a successful production.
While Cold Skin wasn’t a movie I might have gone out of my way to watch before, I definitely enjoyed my experience and it’s even grown on me further since the end credits rolled. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 48%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –56%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – 6.2/10
IMDB Score – 6.0/10
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating –4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer:

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