Dead Snow review

Dead Snow review

Dead Snow is a horror film with zombies and Nazis. Nazi zombies. Brush up your German and prepare for a little Ein… Zwei… Die.

Amazon: Dead Snow [DVD] [2009]

Let’s admit it; everybody loves zombies. We love them because they aren’t real and they can’t actually hurt us. We love them because it’s so easy to hate them. We love them because they give us a reason to hold onto that certain ‘someone special.’ But mainly, we love them because of the violent, brutal visceral display-fests they inspire. So it’s agreed that we all love zombies? Good. But when was the last time we told them that?

For a generation that is re-absorbing zombies into popular culture, we’ve done a pretty shoddy job of making good zombie movies. On the one hand movies like Shawn of the Dead and Zombieland have been smashing comedy hits, but they’ve lacked in both the smashing and the hitting departments. Their counterparts, the classic horror remakes, are hardly anything more than a sloppy, slightly more sexy copy of the originals.

So how do you make a movie containing both witty humour and classic zombie goodness?

Ask the makers of Dead Snow, the Norwegian zombie film that tore up last year’s Sundance Festival. Dead Snow shamelessly scoops up and splices together all the good aspects of both classic and new zombie movies. The film’s writers, Stig Frode Henriksen and Tommy Wirkola, admit to borrowing a lot of their ideas from other films, but boy did it work. For those of you who love classic horror movies, prepare to see your favorite clich├ęs revived and lovingly remembered.

The story starts with six medical students heading to a cabin in the woods (without cellular/mobile service, mind you) to celebrate the Easter holidays. After some major partying is accomplished, our heroes fearlessly invite a strange, unknown hiker into their cabin for coffee. He tells them of the dark history surrounding the area and cryptically warns of an unknown evil and strange happenings. Sound familiar?

To be honest, the film’s opening is weak. The start reeks with over-used horror cliches (either lazy or repectful of tradition, as you prefer) and a weak plot. Not to mention the gratuitous scene in a disgustingly dirty outhouse. Gross, but fear not… as soon as the obligatory sex scene is done with, all zombie hell breaks loose.

Oh, and did I mention it’s Nazi Zombie hell? That’s right, Nazis.

The Nazi zombie genre is not new, but it is really bad. For years nazis have been thrown in as an afterthought to spice things up, and are even popping up in our zombie video games (Mortal Combat II anyone?), but don’t let Dead Snow get mixed up with disasters like Shock Wave or Oasis of the Living Dead.

Henriksen and Wirkola are serious when they use their Nazis. Unlike other films in the nazi zombie genre, they don’t make light of the holocaust. Wirkola (who also directed) tastefully used the Nazis to benefit the movie. After all, what could be more evil than nazis? The zombie’s political alignments do not only make for cool uniforms, they make the violence much more sastifying.

Dead Snow is the perfect movie for any visceral display-hound. It’s beyond bloody. The kills are creative and messy all around, and Wirkola has no problem showing off the human anatomy. For its small budget, Dead Snow has a hefty supply of fake blood and guts. The make-up isn’t bad either, and by ‘isn’t bad’ I mean to say that its phenomenal. For once we get a clear view of our killers, instead of flashy shots designed to ‘inspire our imaginations’. Ahem.

Aside from the weak start, Dead Snow does have a few other weak spots. The acting leaves something to be desired, but mostly because the American version has been dubbed over with what sounds like very bored actors. It also takes a while to get used to intelligent zombies that won’t just eat you – they might stab you, too. Finally, though the plot is weak, it’s still there and takes a while to wrap up. You may be asking some questions that won’t get answers until the end.

Look past these minor annoyances and follow through to the end. I promise you’ll be pleased with a badass face-off and an M. Night Shyamalan-esque ending. Pop Dead Snow in the DVD player, sit back, and cock your shotgun.

Dead Snow the movie is available to buy online on Blue-Ray and DVD.

Amazon: Dead Snow [DVD] [2009]