Cold Ground (2017)

directed by fabien delage
fright house pictures

Despite being a “found footage” tale of a largely unknown or unseen threat producing psychological torment in a five-person crew in heavily forested mountains – and with passages that directly reminded this scribe of scenes from both 2014’s Backcountry and the excellent Bob Goldthwait-helmed Bigfoot adventure Willow Creek from 2013 – this French film is often rather effective, especially as the plight of the principal female protagonist spirals out of control. The fact that no attempt is made to tie up any of the loose ends of the exposition is also a plus, aiding as it does the documentary conceit. Even the fact that the main antagonist is somewhat less impressive than presented, even underwhelming, is forgivable – until it begins to seem a bit silly. Eventually one concludes he or she has seen all this before. Which is a bit of a shame, because this is a skillfully made movie. It just doesn’t quite deliver on its promise.

why did i watch this movie?

Its press campaign had just the right enigmatic touch to overcome my initial doubts about its format. Plus it’s French.

should you watch this movie?

Look, I’ve never seen The Blair Witch Project, but the comparison is evident, along with the above-mentioned productions this one calls to mind. How burnt out you may be on “found footage” flicks could be a determining factor.

highlight and low point

Filming took place in actual heavily forested mountains in actual deep cold, and I always appreciate that kind of dedication. But it did keep bugging me that one or more of the characters didn’t have her hat snugged down tight enough for such purportedly prolonged exposure to such conditions.

rating from outer space: c+