Movie: "Dead Snow"
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Writing credits: Stig Frode Henriksen, Tommy Wirkola
Plot: What's worse than zombies? Nazi zombies, of course. "Ein! Zwei! Die!"
Review: It's spring break, and you're headed north with your med school buddies to unwind. Your buddy's girlfriend Sara has a family cabin in the Norwegian wilderness, and you've got skis and beer. Rumor has it that you might even get laid. Things are looking up.
Except Sara still hasn't shown up, and that strikes you as a little odd. Then this weird old hiker guy comes to your door with a creepy story about Nazis. Legend has it that the Nazi SS were particularly brutal in their occupation of the area during WW2 and were after the locals' gold, which might still be hidden away somewhere. The locals revolted and drove the Nazis into the mountains, and they were never seen again...
The mysterious traveler vanishes, and you and your pals are badly in need of some alcohol to calm your nerves. You reach into the cold crawlspace beer-stash, and stumble upon a dusty box of gold coins. You're spooked, you thought you just heard something outside, and your heavy bladder demands a trek to the dark and drafty outhouse. They're waiting out there for you.
"Dead Snow" is a fun movie. It doesn't take itself too seriously; it knows what it is, and wallows in it. It's no Army of Darkness, but headed in that direction. There's also some mild sophistication there, if you know where to look for it. The Nazi-zombies hunt their first victim to "In the Hall of the Mountain King" (Peer Gynt Suite = Norwegian). In the trailer I saw, there's this cascade of Nazis running down the mountain to "Ride of the Valkyries", and that was pretty kickass, although it didn't show up in the movie. We also can't overlook the artistic effectiveness of brilliant red blood spatters against the bleak, snowy backdrop of Nazi-zombie-infested Scandinavia. It almost makes you forgive the fact that some bad CGI in the gorier moments looks like it's directly lifted from one of those SciFi channel movies.
It's goofy, but meant to be. The horror movie archetypes are all there, including an affable movie buff who is wont to spout catchphrases in English now and then. You've got the slutty chick, you've got the token horny guy, you've got the tragic lovers, you've got various acts of heroism. You've got a guy rappelling off a cliff on Nazi zombie intestines. There's a final bloody free-for-all set to upbeat pop music. There are a few genuinely effective jump scares. What's not to love?
Although the Nazi zombies' motivation is clear (gold), their nature as zombies isn't. They're fast, but they're not the hyper-speed zoombies of the Dawn of the Dead remake or 28 Days Later. They're ambiguously dead, (as in, are they really dead, or just feral?) but many of the widely accepted zombie rules don't seem to apply. They have a lair festooned with swastika flags. They seem to have elementary powers of reason. Their commander can speak. He looks vaguely like the zombie from the cover of "Fido". The uniforms may or may not be historically accurate. Just go with it... it's entertaining.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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