Dead Snow

1 Nov

Director: Tommy Wirkola (2009)

Having spend the best part of a month watching high brow, experimental, break through movies, and in the face of Halloween, I felt there was only one force that would allow me to reclaim the usual guilty pleasure ethos of this site – zombies. Zombies with the power of Nazis.

Dead Snow is one of an all too long line of zombie revenge films with the added edge of these zombie terrorizers being that they wear SS uniforms and their already evil ways have only become exacerbated over the decades – lets say it was put on ice.

Cue a group of attractive young Norwegian twenty somethings en route for a wild weekend of skiing in a remote mountain town Øksfjord, whose thrill seeking happiness is just the kind of warmth needed to thaw out this dormant evil. That and unearthing Nazi gold – that usually get’s them pretty pissed.

There is little point delving into plot in Dead Snow, you get the (snow)drift – drinking and frivolities including outhouse sexy time, zombies attack, kids fight back, little success, thinly veiled moral tale, evil always wins, don’t steal shit. But then you are never going to go into a movie whose tagline is “Ein! Zwei! Die!” and expect hardhitting cinema. You are going to expect a film with a sense of humour to match an encyclopaedic imagination when it comes to zombie deaths.

With the same vigour and tongue firmly placed in decaying cheek as Shaun of The Dead, Dead Snow is a surprisingly fun film. The remoteness of the cabin and the overarching warning that screaming will cause an avalanche, immediately adds to the feeling that seriously no one is going to hear these kids scream. And boy do they scream. And rightfully so. Thumbs in eyes, skulls torn apart like cheap cardboard boxes, entrails unravelled on tree branches – if you aren’t into gore, maybe give this one a skip. But don’t worry, the Nazis get what is coming to them, usually on the unfortunate receiving end of a snowmobile.

Throwing the Nazi element into the zombie equation is a cunning tactic and one that really does work to the best effect by allowing our brave gang to fight back and rid the town of the evil that ravaged its mountainside in World War II. There is never a question of sympathy for these zombies as unfortunate victims of a terrible virus or curse – these zombies have been reanimated so that we can kill them all over again.

The make up and effects are distinctly impressive. The red against white of the snow is a wonderfully cinematic touch that you just don’t get to enjoy in the usual under-cover-of-darkness zombie film.

Yes we’ve seen it before but there is clearly a reason why there are so many hundreds of zombie movies out there – people like seeing people get ripped apart. Dead Snow is nothing new but it is an undeniably entertaining 90 minutes, camp and self referential without taking itself too seriously. Besides, in the toss up between Dead Snow and the original Ring to watch on my own on Halloween there was only one winner.


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