That a found footage film in 2017 would continue to make the exact same mistakes that the sub-genre of horror has been making since its rise to mainstream appeal in 2007 (Paranormal Activity) is simply stunning.
Cold Ground is written & directed by Fabien Delage. A horror that had potential with its initial setup. Unfortunately, it squanders all of that by falling into every pitfall associated with found footage. You know the drill by now…shaky camera work, extreme closeups, awful sound. It’s all here & it’s as frustrating as ever.
The movie introduces David (Geoffrey Blandin) and Melissa (Gala Besson) who are French filmmakers. They have heard reports of mysterious cattle mutilations near the French/Swiss border & want to make a documentary about it.
They head to the British research facility, Pine Wood. Here a group of scientists are also investigating the strange occurrences. Gunther (Phillip Schurer), Blake (Doug Rand) and a few others agree to take David and Melissa on an expedition to another nearby camp. A trek that will take them three days!
Along the way the mystery of the mutilations will finally be solved. However, nothing could have prepared the group for what they will find.
The first third of the film is all about the set-up & other then some annoying closeups, it’s a solid start. We get to know the characters as well as some background information surrounding the events. The actors are pretty good overall & their characters likeable.
The cold wasteland is a great environment for a horror film & the chill comes through the screen. As things get more desperate you can share the pain & suffering the characters are going through regarding the savage nature of the land.
It’s just such a pity that it’s hard to really enjoy it when you can’t see half of what is going on. Being outside & on a mountain as well as being set many years ago means so much of Cold Ground is near unwatchable. As things get more desperate for the survivors, the camera work gets even more shoddy. It might enhance the feeling of actually going through this with the characters but it’s just not visually enjoyable. By the end it really stretches the limits of just what you’re willing to put up with.
If you’d never seen a found footage horror before then Cold Ground would be brilliant. It gets plenty right in regards to character development & story set-up. It just fails to deliver as the mystery just isn’t satisfying & the ending falls flat. Sadly, it’s just going to be remembered as another frustrating & visually sickening failure of an exhausted sub-genre of horror.