It's fairly easy to tell that Blood Runs Cold is the first outing for writer / director Sonny Laguna. While many aspects of the film are very well done (the effects, setting the mood, performance), others, such as the story, and how the characters act in dangerous situations, are less than convincing.
Winona (Hanna Oldenburg) is an artist of some kind, whose agent has leased her an isolated house so that she can get on with her work in peace. The house, a particularly spooky one, is outside of her home town, which she moved away from many years ago. Soon after arriving, she hears some strange noises, but thinks little of it. She grows bored and heads to a bar in town, where she runs into her old boyfriend Rick (Patrick Saxe), who is there with his friends Carl and Liz (Andreas Rylander and Elin Hugoson). They all hit it off, and shortly repair back to Winona's rented home for additional partying.
It gets late, and Winona invites everyone to spend the night instead of driving home. They all go to their respective rooms, with Rick soon finding his way into Winona's bed, with her enthusiastic support. And of course, people begin to die. The story progresses pretty much as you'd expect from there.
The killer is sort of a cross between a grizzled miner and a filthy Nazi storm trooper, who has been living in caves beneath the house for some time. It's implied that this isn't the house that Winona's agent leased, but another one close by that she mistook in the snow. The killer is quite frightening and effective, as far as he goes. No effort is made to explain where he comes from or why he is killing these nice people, and that's fine.
The problem with Blood Runs Cold is that it depends on its characters behaving in ways that normal people wouldn't. For example, just before they all go to bed, Rick goes outside to relieve himself, and sees a man standing in the attic window looking at him. Sure, it's a bit shadowy and obscured, but it clearly isn't Carl. So, who is it? Rick doesn't even ask. Also, Carl gets up early and takes a walk the next morning. He notices that the hood of his car is open, and the engine intentionally disabled. But he doesn't immediately go wake everyone up and express his concern about this clearly hostile act. Instead, he wanders down into the cellar.
This kind of thing happens a number of times, and it substantially deflates the tension when the audience can't identify with the characters' actions. However, this is really the only criticism that can be made of the film. The effects, even quite difficult ones like onscreen decapitations, fingers getting bitten off, etc. that have the potential to look fake and awful if not done well, are very impressive.
The performances are good too, though probably would have been better if the actors had spoken in their native language, rather than English. The film is Swedish, and Laguna corrected this problem when he made his next feature, Wither, and everyone speaks the hometown tongue.
In sum, Blood Runs Cold is a standard "beautiful people in jeopardy" movie, doesn't make a lot of sense, and is fairly close to plotless. But it is a lot of fun, with great gore, decent tension and plenty of scares. Recommended.
Video is 2.35:1, and looks good. There is some mild posterization from time to time, but it's mild enough that it doesn't detract from the experience. The colors are muted, with lots of greys and whites, but smooth and well presented.
Audio is Dolby digital 5.1 channel, and sounds good. The film relies on a lot of subtle noises and half heard footsteps, and these are quite effectively produced. No subtitles are included, but the dialogue is always clearly audible. No hiss or other problem can be heard.
A couple of minor extras are included, along with trailers for Truth or Die and Crawl:
Behind the Scenes
This nine minute featurette is a lot of behind the scenes footage, showing set dressing, lighting, casting and stunts. Mildly interesting.
Blood Runs Cold Trailer
This is a standard, but effective, trailer.
Blood Runs Cold is a disjointed and confused, but mostly effective, slasher from Sweden. It's good to see writer / director Sonny Laguna making big improvements in his follow up Wither, and hopefully he'll continue to get better and spin out horror yarns for many years.