Director – Tommy Wirkola
Cast – Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Rosten, Jeppe Laursen, Jenny Skavlan, Ane Dahl Torp, Bjorn Sundquist, Orjan Gamst
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After the success of the awesome 2006 Norwegian horror film “Cold Prey”, we got another positive watch in 2009 titled “Dead Snow”. Nazi-zombie films have been done before, such as “Outpost”, but this film thankfully managed to give a bit more than the usual zombie film, and with lots of gore. If these Norwegian films keep up this level of horror-filmmaking then I can see them becoming a real player in the horror realm in the years to come.
“Dead Snow” follows a group of medical students traveling to a friend’s isolated cabin for a weekend of skiing, boozing, and all of the fun that comes with boozing. Unbeknownst to the group of friends, the land surrounding the cabin is not safe. During WW2 a group of Nazi soldiers looted a small town, and killed all those who did not willingly give up their belongings. The town fought back against the Nazis, killing them in brutal fashion. The presence of the group of medical students has awakened the undead Nazis, who relentlessly attack and dismember the group one by one. As the number of friends dwindles down, they must get creative and fight back with the few weapons an isolated cabin can offer them.
I was actually quite impressed with this film. Mostly the buzz I heard was positive, but a quick look at the film a while back left me unsure of how it would play out. Thankfully, it played out very well. One aspect of the film that really stood out to me was the fact that at least for the first half of the film, this ZOMBIE film played off much like an 80’s slasher. We didn’t get the usual “BRAINS!!!” antics from the Nazi-zombies, but in fact were exposed to them making some sweet slasher-esque kills instead. We get running zombies in this film, and for once I actually believed that the zombies running actually helped the film a lot. Given the wide open terrain around the cabin, slow moving zombies would have been easily avoidable, and not much of a formidable foe for our protagonists. Change them to running, NFL linebacker-esque zombies and that changes everything. I am being serious about the linebacker reference too, not since “The Return of the Living Dead” had I seen a zombie completely lay out one of it’s victims “Terry Tate” style. Nicely done.
Surprisingly, there is a nice amount of comedic elements thrown in as well. It was not too much, nor too little, just a nice amount to keep this from being an outright horror comedy and just being a plain ole fun horror film. There are also numerous shout-outs thrown into the film as well, pay attention and you should be able to pick them out as they are obvious to fans of horror’s most notable films. The most surprising element to me however…was the gore. Wow. I usually expect a fair amount of gore from a zombie film(can it be one without gore? Heh.) but this film REALLY laid it on me, and hard too. We get heads ripped in half by pulling each eye socket in opposite directions(VERY nice kill) and even some scenes with a person’s intestines pulled out of their stomachs. Quite interesting given these guys were medical students right? Shouldn’t they have been able to save themselves? :evil grin: Oh but don’t get me wrong, they sure as hell fought back. We get some nice zombie kills in this one, and at the hands of many tool shed weapons, including a chainsaw. Since when is a chainsaw used to kill a psychopathic creature(ala “Evil Dead II”) NOT just plain awesome?
I did not have any major complaints with this film, although do wish that we would not have been exposed to as much CGI gore. It was not rampant as it is in other films, thankfully, but had this film given us nothing but live-action gore then I may have found it a bit more enjoyable. Nonetheless, I respect the filmmaker’s low-budget filmmaking and will not see the CGI gore element as a huge downfall for the film.
Overall, this is a sweet zombie film that I recommend to all fans of the zombie horror sub-genre. We get a nice change compared to the usual brainless zombies, plenty of gore, and a few great laughs to compliment the horror.