Dead Snow

Cast:
Charlotte Frogner as Hanna
Ørjan Gamst as Herzog
Stig Frode Henriksen as Roy
Vegar Hoel as Martin
Jeppe Laursen as Erlend
Evy Kasseth Røsten as Liv
Jenny Skavlan as Chris
Bjørn Sundquist as The Wanderer
Ane Dahl Torp as Sara
Lasse Valdal as Vegard

Summary:
A twist on the zombie genre and a healthy dose of comedy makes “Dead Snow” a fun film, especially for fans of “Evil Dead II.”

Story:
When a group of Norwegian medical students head into the mountains for a week of winter sports, all they’re expecting is fun and relaxation. Little do they realize they’ll inadvertently awaken a horror that has been dormant since World War II. A battalion of lost Germans return, but as a new menace – Nazi zombies! The students soon find themselves in for the fight of their lives.

“Dead Snow” is not rated.

What Worked:
Just to give you a little background, I lived in Norway for 4 years back in the ’80s. We used to vacation in cabins just like the ones seen in this film. I’ve been in the mountains in the pitch black and freaked out by strange noises. I also used to play in old German bunkers that are still scattered all over the countryside. And to top everything off, I publish a comic called “ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction.” So if there was ever anyone suited to enjoy “Dead Snow,” it’s me. And fortunately I did enjoy it.

The first thing “Dead Snow” has going for it is the unique twist on the familiar concept. It starts out like a million other movies (and they acknowledge this in the beginning). A group of college students head into the wilderness, they amuse themselves with sex and drinking, they run afoul of some horror, then they are picked off one by one in gruesome ways. But where “Dead Snow” has an advantage is the Norwegian setting. It allows them to feature the beautiful countryside, interesting visuals in falling snow, and some Scandinavian culture. Then, of course, is the twist on zombies. We’ve seen fast zombies, slow zombies, British zombies, etc etc etc. But making them Nazi zombies is the right kind of tongue in cheek approach that makes “Dead Snow” fun. I mean what’s worse that a fascist zombie?

That sense of humor is also what makes “Dead Snow” such a guilty pleasure. It’s a good mix of horror and comedy that’s reminiscent of “Evil Dead II.” And if the fact that they mention “Evil Dead II” at the beginning isn’t clue enough that it was inspiration, the fact that the last person standing attacks the zombies with a chainsaw while wearing a shotgun on his back should be. This movie never takes itself too seriously and that carries over into the scenes where the Nazi zombies are dispatched in increasingly absurd ways.

What Didn’t Work:
As much fun as “Dead Snow” is, it does have a few drawbacks. First of all, you don’t get any real zombie action until about halfway into the film. It needed more sooner. You have to suffer though a lot of the standard cliché horror movie fare before you get to the fun stuff. Of course part of the point of the movie is to play with that cliché stuff, but it wastes too much screentime.

The zombie abilities also seem to be a bit too inconsistent. Some are slow and dispatched easily. Others seem super strong. A lot of it is done tongue in cheek, but it could have used some basic zombie rules. A little bit of back story could have helped, too. We never really learn why the Germans got turned into zombies in the first place. Maybe they’re saving it for a sequel.

The Bottom Line:
If you’re a fan of zombie movies or if you enjoy horror comedies like “Evil Dead II,” then I would recommend “Dead Snow” to you.

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