Bone Cold (2023)

Bone Cold (2023)


Low budget and cheap tricks fail this potentially chilling PTSD horror thriller



Action, Horror, Thriller
Elise Berggreen, Jennifer Khoe, Jonathan Stoddard
109 min


With better backing and a stronger stylistic vision, I can actually see this becoming a cult horror classic.

What it's about

When two Black Ops snipers fail to kill their target in the cold forests of Ukraine, they find themselves stuck between angered local militia and a mysterious creature out for blood.

The take

It’s easy to identify what Bone Cold is trying to be, which is a psychological thriller that explores the traumatized psyches of military personnel. And initially, the film achieves this goal. The inhuman creature that creeps from behind genuinely startles, and the movie is able to effectively connect the monster to lead sniper Jon Bryant’s (Jonathan Stoddard) decaying mental health. But the lack of a strong style, cohesive vision, and adequate budget betray the movie’s premise and turn it instead into a jumbled mess. The creature, upon closer inspection, is no more than a pixelated CGI creation, while Jon’s PTSD is diminished into melodrama fodder. Moreover, the two-hour runtime is bloated with awkward close-ups and overlong sequences that don’t add much to the central point the film is trying to make. If Bone Cold were ever to be the haunting, heavy movie it set out to be, then it might’ve been worth it for writer-director Billy Hanson to let the film incubate a bit more and invest in the fantasy, the world-building, the weirdness, and the details. These small things add up, and in this case, they fall short of what Bone Cold could’ve been. 

What stands out

The creature that stalks Jon and his partner straddles the line between frightening and funny. There are moments when it actually manages to scare, but that could just be because of the jumpscare effect. When the director makes the unfortunate decision to close up on the monster, it ironically loses all intrigue and transforms into this laughably outdated blob that is the farthest thing from scary.

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