Dead Snow (2009)

Dead Snow (2009)

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He was amazed at how much blood comes out of a paper cut.
He was amazed at how much blood comes out of a paper cut.

Twitter Plot Summary: A group of medical students on holiday in the mountains are beset by undead Nazis.

Genre: Comedy/Horror

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Key Cast: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lassa Valdal, Evy Kasseth Rosten, Jeppe Beck Laursen, Jenny Skavlan, Ane Dahl Torp, Bjorn Sundquist, Orjan Gamst

Five Point Summary:

1. That mountain setting looks glorious.
2. Old man survives long enough to spout exposition. Figures.
3. Slasher rules apply. You have sex, you die.
4. How to tell which way you’re facing if buried in an avalanche – use snot.
5. Ahh. That was… unpleasant. Glad that wasn’t me.

Mixing Nazi Zombies with a snowy mountain is a very good thing. There’s something iconic about seeing those uniforms, black and foreboding, set against pure white snow. Add a dash of claret to proceedings and you have a recipe for excellence.

Unfortunately that doesn’t quite pan out. It’s amusing, yes, and the scenes of violence are nicely structured, but it feels like it’s missing something, that killer angle that should’ve been filled by the presence of Nazi Zombies.  There’s little in terms of plot beyond the youngsters – who are quite knowledgeable about their movies – heading to a cabin in the woods. There they encounter an exposition-spouting weird old man and, amazingly, an army of undead Nazi soldiers. Now there’s a turn up for the books.

It’s amusing that despite their inherent knowledge of how horror movies work, they still end up falling foul of the various tropes that we and they are all well aware of. It’s perhaps a misnomer to describe this as a zombie film as these zombies, as established in Outpost, are more interested in just stabbing and hacking at you rather than consuming human flesh (although they will have a nibble now and again). This gives us some epic scenes of gore and implied violence that are both amusing and wince-inducing in equal measure. That’s all well and good, but to call it a zombie film is a stretch, simply because it uses most of the slasher horror tropes in order to tell its story. The traditional notion that if you have sex you die is played out with glorious self-referential abandon, and it’s more about making your escape from the occasional undead fascist rather than surviving an apocalypse.

They look like a lovely bunch of chaps.
They look like a lovely bunch of chaps.

The violence, when it happens, is actually rather good, and the mountain setting does create some interesting if occasionally unbelievable set pieces. If nothing else it does at least set it apart from all of those other films about undead creatures returning from the grave. After one scene in particular, you’ll never look at crows in the same way again, that’s for sure. Also don’t forget the fact that they’re all medical students who have recently been trained in how to amputate limbs and cauterise the wound – that’ll come in handy later, no doubt. To keep things interesting the group are split up (of course) and each has their own unique section of story. It’s very much like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a series of sketches morphed into a film-length narrative. The mountain location is used to great effect and whilst there’s not really any depth to the characters there is at least some amazing scenery to look at. The cinematographer/location scout can be proud of their work.

So ultimately it’s less fun than it should have been, but the concept, the gorgeous setting and the incredibly amusing marketing campaign for the film – including the tagline “Ein! Zwei! Die!” is a stroke of genius. It might not quite live up to expectations but it’s still a blood-soaked laugh. With Nazi Zombies. What more could you ask for?

Favourite scene: They go all Evil Dead in the tool shed.

Quote: “We should have gone to the beach like I told you.”

Silly Moment: He amputates his arm so he doesn’t become a zombie, then… the unthinkable happens.

Score: 3/5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJkd5X2aG34

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