Horror films have not always had the best reputation when it comes to how they portray women on screen ( and a lot of those criticisms are valid )
At the same time many of the best female cinematic characters come from horror films. Ellen Ripley , Clarice Starling and Sarah Conner ( Yes I’m counting T-1 as a horror film, Hell its a better Slasher movie that any of the Halloween sequels )
The latest character in this long line of kick-ass heroines is Özge Dogruol, Portrayed by German actress Violetta Schurawlow in the visceral Giallo inspired thriller COLD HELL!
One of the main jobs of a genre film is to give the audience what they want but not what they expect, and after 50 years of Giallo films you might think every iteration had been covered.
Cold Hell changes it up by having a hero and villain who are both Muslims, but the movie isn’t about religion. Özge is portrayed as a young Austrian woman who drives a taxi, has just recently gone through a bad break up and her main hobby is Thai-Kick Boxing. The fact that her family is originally from Turkey is only mentioned once or twice.
One night after getting home late from work, she happens to see a murder in the apartment across the street. The only part of the killer she sees is his eyes, and they are looking right at her!
What follows is not a game of “cat and mouse” but of Cat and Cat, at no point is she a victim. She uses here driving skills and knowledge of the city to her advantage, and her marital arts skills to protect herself and those around her.
One of the best things I can say about this film is that it treats all its characters equally. Even the Police Detective is well written ( cops in Giallo films are usually beyond useless)
Tobias Moretti as Inspector Steiner first comes off as a uncaring detective but when you realize he’s trying to catch a serial killer while taking care of his father who has advanced Dementia. It adds a level of empathy you don’t often find in a film like this.
Cold Hell was directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky who made a very cool medical horror film in 2000 called Anatomy, then in 2008 he won a Oscar for ” Best Foreign Language Film ” when he directed the WW2 drama the Counterfeiters.
Here he brings both skill sets to bear by making a well made horror movie that has equal parts Drama and Visceral thrills.
So if you’ve never stepped into the world of Giallo films before or you just haven’t seen a new one in a while, this might be the movie for you!
COLD HELL is streaming on Shudder or available to rent online.