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The Forgotten Sci-Fi Thriller You Need To Watch On Amazon

The article contains spoilers for the film Cold Skin 

Xavier Gens is a versatile filmmaker who's dipped his toes in a variety of genres since he burst onto the scene with 2007's Frontier(s), but he's mainly interested in exploring the darker side of storytelling. The cannibalistic Frontier(s) helped put the New French Extremity movement on the radar, and it's one of several films from that subgenre that's capable of turning the most ardent gorehounds into squeamish scaredy-cats. Frontier(s) was followed by the stylish action of the first Hitman adaptation and the post-apocalyptic horror of The Divide, both of which showed that Gens is capable of making mainstream Hollywood flicks, in addition to demented shockers.

However, Gens is arguably at his best when he's helming the horror oddities that earned him the reputation of being a reliable scare merchant. Unfortunately, Cold Skin has been overshadowed by his other works in the grand scheme of things, despite being one of his most interesting features to date. But at least Cold Skin is available to stream on Amazon, so it's never too late to check it out. That's if you think you can handle the nightmare-inducing scares anyway.

Cold Skin is a creature feature with a lot on its mind

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Cold Skin has been praised for its "strong visual pull" and "icy atmosphere." Some reviewers found the story lacking, though many were forgiving due to the film's willingness to go "somewhere different." At the same time, this is a sci-fi horror movie that boasts enough meaty ideas and eerie moments to warrant at least one viewing. The film opens with one of Frederich Nietzsche's most thought-provoking philosophical quotes: "If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." With that sentiment, Nietzsche warned people against adopting evil methods in order to combat other forms of wickedness, and this idea informs Cold Skin's thematic makeup. 

Set in 1914, right before World War I gains steam, Cold Skin follows Friend (David Oakes), a scientist who's been tasked with charting wind patterns on a remote island in the Antarctic Ocean. Upon arrival, he meets Gruner (Ray Stevenson), an eccentric fella who isn't easy to get along with. And if the isolation and the pair's testy relationship isn't enough to contend with, the men must defend themselves from an army of humanoid ocean creatures that inhabit the island. Instead of trying to escape, though, Gruner is determined to stay behind and eradicate every last creature, barring the one he keeps as a slave. By the time the end credits roll, viewers will be left with one question: who are the real monsters in Cold Skin?