Cold Ground is a found-footage horror film that sucks. Written and directed by Fabien Delage, the disappointing flick was released on December 14th of 2017.
The premise of this boring theme park ride is that a French couple in 1976 are filming an investigation into mutilated fauna being discovered in the mountains of the Swiss-French border, unaware that they’re next on the menu, amiright?
This film is exceptionally painful to sit through for a variety of reasons. It’s not even inherently shitty or especially egregious, but it’s so legitimately boring and mediocre in its execution. The characters are performed so stiffly by the majority of the cast, all of whom are clearly trying, but are simply too amateur to come off as believable. Their dialogue is unconvincingly expository and blatantly staged, with obvious cues between their lines and a complete absence of any interesting or meaningful character development.
The acting and directing are so stiff and amateur, in fact, that it ends up feeling like a theatrical event rather than an immersive film. The way these hikers interact with one another is so impersonal and strange. The protagonist does a decent enough job at times, but ultimately falls short in all others.
Not to mention they all make ridiculously stupid decisions. The American investigator was just attacked and snatched by the creatures, so the reporter rushes back to her tent to inform her lover, whose ankle is nigh unusable, that there are in fact multiple creatures hunting them and they just likely eviscerated their guide. And he literally tells her to stay in the tent so he can hobble outside and try to find the investigator on his own? As though he can fucking help? Despite them having found multiple carcasses, literally losing a member of their group to these creatures the day prior, the only surviving member capable of defending himself having just been kidnapped and definitely destroyed, and his girlfriend literally just telling him that there are several of these lethal creatures actively hunting them.
The effects are perfectly passable beyond the costumes donned by the werewolves? Sasquatches? Batmen? We never quite get a clear look at them despite the annoyingly constant jumpscares of them tackling people, and yet their design is clearly synthetic and rubbery. There are scenes where the group discovers bloody bones of animals and people, the former being strangely cartoony and the latter being acceptable but not exceptional. And the footage is supposed to be from 1976, but the video and audio quality is completely pristine and fantastic? They just throw a scratchy film overlay atop it all, and in one scene a character literally acknowledges that the investigators don’t have an audio engineer for sound, so the reporter just says they have a really good camera and the best of equipment. Fuck off.
The cinematography is as boring as the direction, shooting uninteresting angles, aiming away from the people actively performing, etc. There are actually several spontaneously presented shots between scenes that are quite well executed, honestly being the highlight of the entire film. And when the best part of your film is a scattered series of wide shots of the Swiss alps where nothing happens, I think you need to figure out what the fuck you’re even doing.
Toward the end of Cold Ground, there are literally several consecutive minutes of the French couple just walking through the snow. Not speaking, not actively doing anything, just walking down the mountain. I don’t know if the director felt the need to pad the film to fit the hour-and-a-half mark or what, but by God this film is so fucking boring and absent of redeeming content to any degree.
In conclusion, Cold Ground is far too amateur, mediocre and uninteresting to be worth a damn. If you’re terribly bored and desperate for some found-footage horror without any high standards, you could be fine just flicking it on for the hell of it. It’s not offensive, but I really can’t offer it any praise.
That’s just my piece.