SXSW 2011: COLD SWEAT (SUDOR FRIO) Review

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
Argentina's Adrian Garcia Bogliano embraces the ridiculous in Cold Sweat. He revels in the inherent silliness of his plot, throwing in twists and turns not because they make good logical sense - the whole premise is daft - but because he understands that movies should be fun and, dammit, he's here to serve his audience. If this requires concocting a ludicrous premise to very slowly cut off a dripping wet woman's clothing in extreme close up, then so be it! Bogliano has the greatest job in the world, basically, a fact he knows full well and takes full advantage of. And if that fact alone isn't enough to elevate Cold Sweat to art it does at least make for something that's pretty damn fun.

The premise, such as it is, goes like this. Facundo Espinosa stars as a young man who's girlfriend first left him and then disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Being a persistent sort, he recruits the help of a platonic female friend (Marina Glazer) to track her down, following the IP addresses of a string of online messages to an old house sitting ominously alone.

Is she in there? You bet she is but in a hysterical example of how you can never trust that people are who they appear to be online she's not there with the attractive young man she went to meet but rather a pair of crotchety old coots, failed political revolutionaries who now spend their days luring young women online and subjecting the to a variety of re-education experiments geared towards some unspecified end. These two would be a classic comic couple - one of them comes complete with eye patch and walker - if not for the fact that they like to douse their young women with highly unstable, decades old nitroglycerin to force their compliance.

Oh, did I mention? They have case upon case of dynamite dating back decades in their basement.

And so Bogliano has set up a cat and mouse game played to the death between a pair of creaky, bickering old men and a trio of pretty young things - one of whom is quickly stripped down to her underwear, you know, because of the nitro - who must move cautiously due to the constant fear of explosion.

It's an insane, ridiculous concept, if we're being honest and yet Bogliano keeps it engaging because - after a somewhat wobbly beginning - he keeps it fun. His villains are a striking, iconic pair - completely original and blessed with an evil charisma that somehow makes them believable within this very odd world - while his pretty young things are, well, pretty and young and wearing frilly underthings. And once you swallow the setup they all deliver surprisingly strong performances.

Played more as a demented thrill ride than a shocker, Bogliano keeps the tension high as he races through a series of creative set pieces. No opportunity is ignored, no chance to surprise or entertain is missed as the director and crew take you through pretty much every possible scenario that the premise allows. If there's anything that you can do with big jars of nitro, rest assured that this movie does it. The action is well staged, the gore effects convincing, and stuff blows up real good. Cold Sweat is one of those movies that succeeds simply because it delivers on its promises. And there aint nothing wrong with that.
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