Sometimes it can feel like there are no new or original ideas for film plots, and the steady stream of studio blockbusters looking to capitalize on the latest trends does nothing to discourage this feeling. Often even the cash-grabbing sequels in popular franchises become aware of this problem, and the quickest fix is by blending in unexpected genre elements. Bone Cold also seems to be taking this approach, creating a hybrid narrative that combines an action film with the tropes of a horror movie.
The film begins with an impressive introduction to elite Black Ops sniper Jon Bryant (Jonathan Stoddard) and his spotter Marco Miller (Matt Munroe) while they are on a mission. After a short return home to their family, the duo is called in for another assignment, though minimal details and preparation is allowed before they are sent to assassinate a man somewhere in the remote wilderness of Russia. With the previous team suffering psychological trauma in the woods surrounding the target, Bryant and Miller are surprisingly unphased, but the audience is clued in on the horror tropes at play.
While there are some hints of horror through sound design and surrealist sequences that initially seem to occur only in the mind of Bryant, the strength of the film’s first half are the tense action sequences. The job turns out to be more complicated than the sniper team is told, and the pair are forced to shoot their way to safety more than a few times. These sequences are so effective, it makes the lackluster execution of the horror sequences that much more disappointing. This could have been a really solid straight-to-video Sniper sequel/spin-off if the focus had remained on this storyline, especially when a rival sniper is brought in to hunt the American soldiers.
The combination of horror and action may have worked quite well if the filmmakers had found a way to blend the disparate elements of each genre, but instead Bone Cold often switches back and forth between the two without integrating them into each other. The result feels like a film with an identity crisis. What begins as straightforward action ends as pure psychological horror, but the two genres don’t effectively interact with each other, even as the two narratives cross paths in the middle of the film.
In addition to the high definition, the Blu-ray release for Bone Cold also includes a making-of featurette and blooper reel in the special features. While it can be fascinating learning how lower budget films are made, the blooper reel feels a little out of place for the tone of the film. In some cases, these may be better kept for the cast and crew. There is also a trailer for the film.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Special Features: 5/10