Sometimes, while watching a movie you’re also seeing two more: the one that the director wanted you to see and the one you see the movie could become. Because of this, I sometimes feel distracted watching a film that distinctly wants to make an impression but feels like it’s always turning in a different direction.
Director Xavier Gens knows what he wanted to do with Cold Skin. It is, very obviously, a monster movie where we will discover man is the real monster. I don’t consider that a spoiler since we all knew that going in. The movie really wants you to know certain things, and it will scream them out loud. It doesn’t need to, really. I think it works better as an intimate vehicle where it’s simply one man’s madness against another.
A young man that has taken the lonely position of weather observer (David Oakes) finds himself alone in an island with an eccentric lighthouse keeper named Gruner (Ray Stevenson). There are creatures in this island that come at night to kill them.
The movie tries to ask questions from a diverse nature but it changes course every now and then. Gruner keeps one of these creatures in his lighthouse, but the reason why he does it or why she doesn’t run away is not explained convincingly. If she doesn’t run away and she is allowed to roam freely, she’s not a prisoner and she’s not the reason why her brethren come at night. Actually a lot has to do with the fact that Gruner and the creatures have been at war for a while, so you can insert your statement about war being meaningless here.
Lightly recommended with reservations. The movie wants to be thoughtful but wants to go back to being a monster movie every now and then. It feels like a short story that probably had a much simpler plot and resolution. The bleakness of the atmosphere plus just adding madness to all reasoning might account for a lot of contradictions. In other words, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt and saying your mileage may vary.
That will do for now.