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By Noah Lee | March 16, 2011

In the 70s, a batch of dynamite goes missing during a military coup. Today, a man’s ex-girlfriend goes missing after chatting with a blonde boy online. Are the two connected?

Ten days after her disappearance, the search plants her ex-boyfriend and a female companion on the doorstep of a broken down house in a bad neighborhood, a location attained by having his friend pose as bait, talking to the same blonde boy online. She heads inside to investigate and inquire with the golden haired kid and while waiting, the boyfriend assists a feeble old man to cross the street in front of the house. He’s complimented as being unique, because these days, who even helps old men across the street if they’re not trying to gain a badge? It’s only after the elder crosses the threshold that it becomes clear something is amiss. Is he related to the disappearance and how is he connected to the fair-haired youth that’s been luring women to his adobe? What happens next is all at once thrilling, funny and explosively disgusting.

There are never enough horror movies with old people playing the villains, so it’s always a pleasure when they show their faces. Even more so when they’re hobbling around on walkers, instilling fear into the hearts of young women with their sick desires and overblown sense of morality. They may know over 300,000 words to communicate with and kids these days may only use 2000. Is that justification enough for the evils that happen? Surely it is. We’ve seen thinner plots and certainly we’ve seen them executed much more poorly. To give away the intimate details of “Cold Sweat” would be a disservice, but let’s say it has some clever kills the likes of which I’ve not seen and does so in such a way that’s a hoot to watch. It’s not exactly a river of blood, but when we are treated to the kills, it doesn’t hold back from showing the gore.

Director Adrián García Bogliano has created a thrill ride that walks the line between thriller and a horror film with some genuinely funny comedic moments. In “Cold Sweat” the editing and camera work channels both “Requiem for a Dream” and “Straw Dogs.” It sounds contradictory but is done cleverly enough that it brings life to the film, giving it a pulse and pace that’s unusual in horror movies these days. The camera work builds tension with extreme close-up shots of naked flesh, wet hair, needles, eyes and faces, quickly cutting between these elements and pairing them with emphatic crescendos of industrial styled musical cues. Then, just as we’re treated to some of the more exciting action, rather than choose to keep things frenetic, director Bogliano instead slows things down giving the viewer time to absorb the details. Mixed with such imagery is a soundtrack of dark industrial music, techno and electronically generated ambient noises that aid in its disturbing atmosphere. It’s all very sexy and fun, punctuated at the right times by some offhand comments about the absurdity of the situation which had the crowd laughing.

Like “[REC]” before it, the majority of the film is set inside a single structure, allowing it to build a sense of claustrophobia and dread, with the viewer never knowing how far away the next danger is or what new evil lies around the corner. The performances are solid all around and while no one character is ever well developed, a little background on the geriatrics is revealed through a few well placed flashbacks. We’re given about as much motivation as you would expect from a slasher of this sort.

At its heart, “Cold Sweat” isn’t much different than other fish out of water horror films. However it succeeds via its technical smarts and by delivering a few unique and thrilling situations and leaves me wanting to go back and visit Bogliano’s catalog to see if his other movies are as much fun as “Cold Sweat.”

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