Dead Snow 2: Red VS Dead (2014)

Dead Snow 2: Red VS Dead (2014)

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Somehow I don't think standing there will do much good.
Somehow I don’t think standing there will do much good.

Twitter Plot Summary: Those Nazi zombies are still on the loose, and the only way to stop them is to resurrect an army of Russian zombies!

As if you needed any indication about the tone Dead Snow 2 would take, within the first five minutes there is relentless levels of gore and a joke about the awful Ding Dong Song by Gunther. In the real world it may have been five years since the first Dead Snow movie helped kick off the Nazi Zombie sub-genre (along with 2007’s Outpost), but in story terms we pick up immediately from the end of that first film. The Nazis have followed Martin (Vegar Hoel) down from the mountain and into the local Norwegian towns where their rampage of blood and guts may continue unabated.

If things weren’t puzzling enough, there’s a whole subplot about Martin and the leader of the Nazi Zombies, Colonel Herzog, swapping arms after their respective limbs are removed. Martin has to try and contain the inherently evil actions of his Nazi arm, while the Nazi commander has to deal with the exact opposite. Eventually it’s decided that the only way to stop the undead Nazi onslaught is by resurrecting a conveniently buried group of Russian soldiers. In other words, quite a similar idea to Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetznas. The difference being that that film was average, whereas Dead Snow 2 is a blast from start to finish.

In an understandable but slightly disappointing move, the native subtitled Norwegian dialogue of the original has been replaced with English – although as it appears that the film was shot in Norwegian and English versions I should probably keep my mouth shut. Releasing an English language version might be of benefit for selling the film to a larger audience, but it loses some of the charm of the first.

Ohhhh, who'd be a zombie?!
Ohhhh, who’d be a zombie?!

On face value it feels like the original concept, a fun little zombie film set in Scandinavia, has sold out its principles in favour of making a big dumb action horror film. Thankfully it’s something that works quite well, even if you’re left with the lingering thought that they should have stuck with a Norwegian-only version.

It seems the makers of Dead Snow 2 were keen to throw in everything that worked the first time round, and they do so with an almost gleeful sense of abandon. There is gore and violence aplenty, combined with frequent laugh out loud gallows humour. There’s clear signs that Tommy Wirkelow has learned a lot in the director’s chair between the Dead Snow films. This sequel feels much more competent, frequent directorial flourishes mixed with a greater sense of how to tell a story effectively. Wirkelow has had a bit of time to home his craft, clearly, as is evidenced by the number of future “iconic” shots he manages to squeeze into the film.

The script is not against the idea of being a little bit self-referential either. Characters joke about creating an entire new genre of zombie film (debatable), and twists off in a few different directions than might be expected – in particular the final scene which is… comically unsettling. Either way, Dead Snow 2 is just as good as the original, but doesn’t do what bad sequels do and repeat that story.

Score: 3/5

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