Cold Sweat is a nonsensical horror film out of Argentina. With a plot so illogical it’s hard to describe, Cold Sweat (Sudor Frio) didn’t work on any level. Ok…there was one worthwhile head-exploding scene, but that’s it. Premiering at Austin’s SXSW film festival last week, Cold Sweat was less a horror film and more a vehicle for ultra close-ups of wet, half-naked female bodies.
The plot, from what I could decipher, centers around an ex-boyfriend looking for closure. He and his female friend are looking for his ex-girlfriend so he can talk things over with her, except she‘s kind of fallen off the face of the planet. He’s had a few emails from his ex, and he and his friend are using the IP address on the emails to track her down.
This leads them to an old house and a pair of sadistic psychopaths sitting over a stockpile of ancient explosives. These two throw-backs to the last military regime lure women into their lair via the internet, then use nitroglycerin and other corrosives in sadistic ways to torture and mutilate them. For what reason you ask? I’m not sure. It looks as if they’re trying to teach the women to read code, or to have better manners?
It doesn’t matter what they’re trying to do, because this film doesn’t make sense and I don’t think it cares. Maybe something got lost in translation, or at least the poorly translated subtitles. There’s lots of exposed breasts, and females bodies dripping with what looks like sweat but is really nitroglycerin. When our hero finds his ex (covered from head to toe in nitro), he has to instruct her in precise detail how to take off all her clothes and the poor thing has to do everything very slowly so she doesn’t explode.
It seems like this scene goes on for a gratuitously long time. Other scenes of torture fill up the rest of the movie, culminating in the army of mutilated (and yes, mostly naked) zombie-ish women stashed in the basement. The camera work is pedantic for the most part, except for the extreme close-ups of the ex-girlfriend’s drenched body as she slowly takes off her skimpy outfit.
The film does provide a level of tension, but the silliness of the storyline and basic lack of any kind of logic made it hard to stay interested or invested. Audiences don’t really care what happens to any of the characters because story and character development were so weak. The evil doctor of pain is an old man with a walker and only one good eye. His character is so over-the-top it comes across as more of a caricature, and the same goes for his stupid henchman.
Aside from the ridiculous script and bizarre motivation for all this gratuitous torture, Cold Sweat suffers from a disjointed feel. The sets and scenery are mostly grimy and old, and the lighting harsh and almost garish in most scenes. The excessive and sadistic all-on-female violence stinks of misogyny. I’ve never met writer/director Adrian Garcia Bogliano, so I can’t say for sure if he hates women, or why he likes to see them tortured and mutilated. The film finally staggers and lurches to an incoherent ending which is far from satisfying, and it certainly doesn’t make the hour and half run-time worth it.