A hit last year in its native Norway, Roar Uthaug’s debut feature is a conventional but nicely handled slasher pic that makes good use of spectacular mountain range locations. Widescreen lensing format and above-average perfs add a touch of class to the tale of five snowboarders who take shelter in the wrong mysteriously abandoned (or is it?) ski lodge. Offshore sales should be brisk.
Genial, boyish Tobias (Rolf Kristian Larsen) is the lone stag member of a youthful party otherwise comprising two couples, recently-conjoined horndoggies Mikael (Endre Martin Midtstigen) and Ingunn (Viktoria Winge), plus longer-established duo Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and Eirik (Tomas Alf Larsen). Escaping resort crowds in favor of pristine backcountry, their athletic fun is halted when Tobias breaks a leg. They retreat to a shuttered nearby lodge that appears deserted. Alas, somebody still lives here — and he’s got an axe. Likeable characters are given more personality than the usual genre cannon fodder, and, while basic premise is routine, pic orchestrates its scares with brute effectiveness. The only letdown is the killer himself, a generic “Halloween”-y faceless ghoul in goggles and heavy winter wear. Production values are polished.