I’ve never been one for horror movies, but I’ve always been adept at spotting a good story, and Cold Sweat (Sudor Frío) is not good. A weak plot and undeveloped characters do not make for an exciting or scary movie. On the rare occasion that I choose to watch a horror movie, I want to be terrified. I want to cover my eyes, jump and scream out loud. Spanish director Adrian Garcia Bogliano fails to provide this level of fear to his audience. His attempt to take an insightful look at the consequences of technology simply falls flat.
We begin with Ali and Roman, two friends plotting to track down Roman’s cheating ex girlfriend, Jacquie. Ali has been chatting online with Jacquie’s new man, a Blond Man who invites her over. She and Roman follow the bait, hoping to catch Jacquie in the act, but things go terribly awry. Ali goes inside the Blond Man’s house, leaving Roman to sit in the car. After waiting for what seems like too long, Roman begins to suspect something is up. When he discovers that an old man lives in the house, a not the Blond Man, he decides to go inside and see what’s up.
Roman snoops around the eerie old house until he sees a terrible sight: Ali and another girl held captive in a torture chamber by The Old Man and his assistant. We quickly learn that The Old Man is torturing young girls using his own personal concoction of Nitroglycerin. His concoction was developed years ago, during his time as a member of a dangerous government organization. Somehow Roman manages to stand and watch the events unfold in front of him without being noticed. Instead of busting into the room and stopping the 80 year-old-man from causing more harm, Roman merely watches as the two men decapitate the girl in front of Ali. After a while, the two men leave Ali on her own (why?) and Roman comes to the rescue.
Unfortunately he doesn’t have cell phone service, but fortuitously he has Internet on his flip phone. He uses his device to look up Nitroglycerin, and then to post an SOS status on Facebook. Excellent work Sherlock. With the help of Google, Roman discovers that Nitro will explode on contact, and that The Old Man is using it as a torture device. Roman unties Ali and sends her to get help, which never comes, because Ali is never able to escape. Soon enough Roman finds his ex, Jacquie, tied up and covered in Nitro. A good portion of the film is spent moving and undressing Jacquie so as to avoid her explosion.
The story plods along, with gruesome action sparsely sprinkled in. Each time there is action, however, it’s accentuated by a grating industrial song, and is almost always played out in stylized slow motion. The few grotesque scenes that do exist are fairly well-done, yet the slo-mo is overkill. The Nitroglycerin is such an overwhelming aspect of the film, however, it seems the director should have shown his audience a bit more burning flesh and suffering. We see almost no torture at all during the movie, just results of past tortures. Watching the characters tip toe around the house avoiding the least-menacing villain of all time is in no way suspenseful. The audience is never fearful of what’s around the corner or behind someone’s back, and the characters are never developed enough for us to care if something does indeed happen to them. The director tries to scare us with a twist by throwing Ali into a room full of tortured victims, but watching the zombie women attack is more comical than frightening. The crimes that occurred in this house of horror took place before our protagonists entered the front door, making any victims from the past almost meaningless.
As an outsider, the historical significance of the film is not apparent, but after watching the Bonus Features on the DVD, it is explained that The Old Man is meant to be a remnant of a violent military dictatorship that ruled Argentina in the 1970s. During this time over 30,000 people were kidnapped and killed, and when democracy finally came about, those military leaders spearheading the murders were tried and then released back into society. This piece of history makes the film more intriguing, but does not make it any better or scarier.
It’s never quite clear what The Old Man is after, but it’s made obvious that he detests today’s ignorant youth. Because he is able to lure young people to his doorstep so easily, he feels they deserve anything that comes to them. The writers’ attempt to make some sort of social commentary on modern society’s fixation with the Internet and reliance on technology is weak. It’s just laughable each time Roman pulls out his phone to check Facebook. But the message at the heart of the film is well-intended; Make the most of your life, spend time with those you love, and keep off the Internet, because “Any drop could be your last.”
An excessive amount of Bonus Features for such a short film.
Director’s commentary, Deleted/Extended Scenes, go Behind the Scenes and onto the set of the film. A segment titled Cold Blood: The True Facts Behind Cold Sweat is actually very interesting, and gives a history of Argentina’s recent violent dictatorship. Additionally you can find a Poster Gallery, Comic Book, Trailer, Teaser, TV Spots, Radio Spots.
"Cold Sweat" is on sale January 17, 2012 and is not rated. Horror. Directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano. Written by Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano, Hernán Moyano. Starring Facundo Espinosa, Marina Glezer, Camila Velasco.