I have a soft spot for found-footage films, particularly those that don’t contain annoying characters and where dumb decision-making is kept to a minimum. As is the case with Cold Ground, an unnerving horror film set in the forest-covered mountain ranges of the French-Swiss border.
It’s 1976, and this is the footage recovered from two journalists who went with a small team to investigate cases of cattle mutilation, but stumbled across something monstrous instead…
Where Cold Ground succeeds so well is with its visual style. It does an impressive job of not only transporting us into this chilly, snow-smothered place miles from sanctuary, but by convincing us that this is the late 70s. Maybe it’s a simple method of utilising a specific filter for the camera, but either way the film looks fantastic and I admired its staunchness for authenticity.
It follows the routine of similar films of its kind as we follow the group, listen to their backstories, and get teased with scary tales of the location’s faux history before they settle in for the night and face a real scare or two… but it works. Come nighttime, eerie sounds augment the suspense, and though it’s very basic in execution, it remains true that less is more in a horror film. A twig snapping or an unnatural howl is far creepier than a screen full of monster.
Inevitably things go downwards rapidly for the cast as whatever’s out there becomes bolder and more hostile, but Cold Ground proves enjoyable enough even when it occasionally threatens to undo all the hard work it accomplished of getting under your skin. Overall, if you don’t like this type of film, then Cold Ground isn’t going to change your mind, but for those that do, it will prove a solid entry within the found-footage subgenre that you’ll be glad you stumbled across.