There’s a fun movie to be made from the clever premise, and director Adrián García Bogliano has a good time with a low budget. Still, the gaps in logic and dumb protagonists make for a horror film that’s hard to get worked up over.
Movie Grade: C+
DVD Grade: B
When a horror film’s entire premise hinges upon the unwillingness of the central characters to, on more than one occasion, simply walk out the front door and call the police…well, we’re on tricky ground.
In Argentina’s Cold Sweat (aka Sudor frío), which opens deceptively on a bright, residential street, Roman’s girlfriend Jaquie has absconded without more than a vague text message of the “I’m leaving you, don’t follow me, and don’t be surprised if I’m never heard of again” variety. It seems that she’s met a fellow online that she likes just a bit better. Roman (Facundo Espinosa) is advised to move on, but instead arranges a bit of a sting operation--his friend Ali (Marina Glezer) has scored a date with the same rather alarmingly pale and quiet fellow from online, so he’ll follow along to make one last play for Jaquie. This is where one might have suggested to Ali that, when arranging a date with a guy from the web who refuses to speak to you beforehand, a coffee shop or the mall might be better choices for locale than inside the guy’s house. Far be it for me to judge, but one shouldn’t act terribly surprised when the horror movie-proper begins very shortly thereafter. Within mere moments, Ali finds herself strapped down à la Hostel, watching helplessly as another perfectly nice (and, incidentally, naked in a sling) young lady is tortured prior to having her head blown up. And therein we have our requisite horror-movie twist: nitroglycerin. The politically minded bad guys use a stabilized compound to punish girls who they find to be decadently modern and foolish. I’m still not entirely clear on their goal, but it has something to do with exploding zombie girls.
For all of its by-the-numbers torture/horror plotting, director Adrián García Bogliano’s film does, fortunately, have a few tricks up its sleeve. The two old men at the heart of the torture/explosion operation have their roots on the dark side of Argentina’s dirty war of the late 70s and early 80s. The nitro is a unique touch, and allows for mild edge-of-your-seat type plotting as everyone runs around the house of horrors ready to explode. Though not nearly enough, there’s a bit of fun to be had with the premise as well—when a character is found slathered in explode-y goo (the ‘cold sweat’ of the title), she’s forced to ever-so-slowly remove all of her clothes before making her escape. There are a few fun winks like that, but on the whole Bogliano takes things a bit too seriously. There’s some imagination on display here, and he does a lot with the film’s low budget, but it all winds up being a bit less entertaining than it might have been. There’s an awesomely fun movie to be made from the clever and ridiculous premise, but what we mostly get is a standard-issue cat-and-mouse game that only occasionally makes sense. The protagonists spend the entire film making dumb choices, and it becomes harder and harder to care whether they live or die—or whether the whole place is going to blow. The two creepy old guys have been doing this for twenty-five years, after all, and the neighbors haven’t complained yet.
The disc itself includes a fairly nice smattering of extras. Included are around 23 minutes of Deleted Scenes, none of which add terribly much. Behind the Scenes doesn’t provide much documentary detail, but shows the cast and crew at work putting the film together. It runs for 10 minutes. Cold Blood is brief, but probably the most helpful to audiences outside of Argentina: in it, Bogliano provides some background and context for the history that the film references. There’s a pretty good Feature Commentary from the director who likeably provides behind-the-scenes detail and spends a good bit of time talking about his goals and aspirations for the film. Finally, there are some promotional bits including a couple of Trailers and TV ads, as well as a comic-book version of the story.