Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Movie Review: COLD HELL

Violetta-Schurawlow_Allegro2-copy.jpg

After witnessing a brutal murder in a neighboring apartment, Ozge Dogruol (Violetta Schurawlow) must protect herself at all cost from a mysterious serial killer who is out for blood. Ozge, now constantly on the move, attempts to figure out who the killer is and what his motives are while fighting to stay alive and remain one step ahead. Reluctant and apathetic at first, detective Steiner (Tobias Moretti) eventually steps in to help Ozge track down this maniac and help put an end to his wake of religiously influenced murders.

Feeling like a chase thriller out of the 1990s, COLD HELL’s element of action will not disappoint. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky builds up steady anticipation of events to come throughout the duration of the film. Whether you end up being a fan of this movie or not, your attention will definitely be held at full capacity till the very end. This thriller combines drama with action, while also providing fragments of horror through the use of the serial killer’s methods. The highs outweigh the lows here, as a majority of COLD HELL is balls to the wall with its action-packed sequences, leaving little room for the audience to take a breath. 

COLD HELL is also wrapped beneath many elemental veils, with religion, character growth, and female empowerment being at the top of the list. The heavy religious context weighs strongly on muslim women, and the sickening viewpoints that extremists possess towards them. It is all too real for many, and the director hits home with capturing the nature of this beast. I feel the religious context was a great direction to take this film in, as it not only makes for an interesting subject, but also stands to spread awareness for sexualized violence against women. The killer (Sammy Sheik) has frighteningly convinced himself that his horrific actions are religiously justified, giving him the self-proclaimed title of someone who cleanses the corrupt for a higher power.

The main character was brilliant- she represents nothing less than strength, intelligence, and independence. She holds her own throughout the entire film and takes no prisoners. It was rather inspiring to see a lead endure so much while keeping the demeanor of a powerhouse badass. Needless to say, when this film ended, it made me want to immediately sign up for kickboxing classes. Violetta Schurawlow did an excellent job of showcasing her character’s progression of strength and emotional discovery, and gave a pretty flawless performance. She undoubtedly stole the show, with Sammy Sheik acting as a ruthless and eerie complimentary killer. 

If you enjoy a pretty action-packed thriller with a plot deeply rooted in good character growth and a powerful message, than Cold Hell is for you. Its fast-paced nature is sure to appease any action fan, while also holding elements catering to genre fans as well. This is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat while also finding yourself cheering for the main character every time she drops a guy to their knees, giving them a good ass-kicking.

Abigail Braman