Monday, September 28, 2009

Movie Review: Dead Snow

Dead Snow ***
Directed by:
Tommy Wirkola.
Written By: Stig Frode Henriksen & Tommy Wirkola.
Starring: Vegar Hoel (Martin), Stig Frode Henriksen (Roy), Charlotte Frogner (Hanna), Lasse Valdal (Vegard), Evy Kasseth Røsten (Liv), Jeppe Laursen (Erlend), Jenny Skavlan (Chris), Ane Dahl Torp (Sara), Bjørn Sundquist (The Wanderer), Ørjan Gamst (Herzog).

Has anyone ever made a movie about Nazi zombies before? I cannot think of an example off the top of my head, but you have to admit that the idea is pretty cool, right? I mean if there is anything that would make zombies more evil, it would to make them into Nazis.

The new Norwegian film Dead Snow is a film that has a very basic premise. A group of young friends head off into the woods to a secluded cabin where they plan to spend their Easter holiday drinking, partying and having sex. Each character represent a different “type” in the horror movie - the geek, the horny guy, the cool guy, the hot slut, etc. This isn’t really a flaw in the movie, but a way to get things going quickly without having to go through the motions of setting everyone up. The characters even have a conversation about how many movies start out this exact way - a group of friends head off into the woods where there is no cell phone service. They come up with quite a list. One of the films they name in The Evil Dead, and that’s appropriate as this film is certainly a loving homage to Sam Raimi’s masterful series of horror/comedy movies with Bruce Campbell.

So the seven friends arrive at the secluded cabin, and are having fun. An eighth friend is planning on joining them the next day, but decided she wanted to cross country ski her way to the cabin instead of drive and snowmobile. We know that she is never going to make, because in the precredits sequence we see her get brutally slaughtered - by what we are not exactly sure. One of the girls thinks she sees something outside, and we think that the horror action is going to begin. But the film isn’t quite ready for that yet. First, they need to introduce the creepy old guy who will explain why they never should have come up here in the first place. Apparently, in the waning days of the second world war, the Nazis that were stationed in the area stole all the valuables they could from the local townspeople banded together and attacked them, killing most of the Nazis, but allowing some to escape into the woods - with the stolen loot - never to be heard from again. They assume that the Nazis froze to death out there, and that they certainly did. They just didn’t stay dead.

Soon the undead Nazis are attacking the house. Stranded 45 minutes away from their car, with no way to get there in the snow (one of them had left earlier on the snowmobile to try and find his girlfriend who never showed up) they don’t know what to do. Two of their friends were killed in the initial attack and the rest do not want to end up the same way. So what do they decide to do? Why split up of course!

Dead Snow gets away with trading on so many horror clichés, because it does it all with a wink and nudge. The movie knows that its characters are idiots and so it decides to do some entertaining stuff with them. We know, for example, that there is going to be a sex scene at some point. What we don’t expect is that one of the hot chicks (and they are all hot, but so ill defined that they never really rise above the level of hot chicks) will sleep with the chubby, geeky movie nerd. Not only that, we certainly do expect that they’ll do it in a frozen outhouse. But while I was happy that my brethren was finally getting some in a movie, I couldn’t help but wonder how cold it was in that outhouse, and how cold it would have to be before the two became frozen together at the genitals.

The final act of Dead Snow is one of the most entertaining finales to a horror film in recent memory. The two survivors, knowing that they are probably going to die - there are just too many Nazi Zombies - arm themselves with chainsaws, axes, hatchets and whatever else they can find and slash and hack their way through as many as they can. Limbs start flying, heads start rolling, and there is more blood than in any film in recent memory. When their friend shows up on his snowmobile, that he has outfitted with a machine gun, things get even wilder.
Dead Snow is an entertaining homage to the American horror films of the 1980s. Whereas most American horror filmmakers seem to reach back to the 1970s, and try to make extreme, disturbing horror movies (and fail miserably), director Tommy Wikola wants to have some fun. While Dead Snow certainly does not do anything new with the genre, it is one of the most entertaining horror films of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment