Film review by: Witney Seibold
While a careful review about the film’s pacing, tone, themes, and performances is more appropriate to an author of my standing (or pretentiousness, take your pick), all I really need to say to get you to decide whether or not you want to see “Dead Snow” is the following two-word phrase:
Yes, a filmmaker in Norway (Tommy Wirkola) finally thought to dress a zombie in a Nazi uniform. In theory, one can dress a zombie however they like, and it will still be a zombie, but Wirkola goes one step further, and makes his monsters… well, they’re actually just zombies in Nazi uniforms. They move quickly, and seem to be reasonably intelligent, but they are, at the end of the day, just zombies in Nazi uniforms.
How did we get here? Well, here’s the backstory: A group of attractive young people are heading into the mountains for a brief, cabin-bound holiday. There’s a loving couple, there’s a funny fat guy (who is savvy in movie trivia! Cue inappropriate horror self-awareness that went out of vogue nearly a decade ago!), there’s a blonde bombshell, there’s a guy with special outdoorsy knowledge. The actress who gets the most screentime is Charlotte Frogner. The savvy med student is Ørjan Gamst. Thay are, in fact, all med students. This details has less payoff than you’d like.
Anyway, one creepy night, a grizzled mountain man (Bjørn Sundquist) happens upon the cabin of these kids, and tells them of a Nazi platoon who, back at the end of the war, fled from the Allies into these very mountains. They were attempting to hide their Nazi gold, you see. And, his story told, the man escapes into the night. His character is not named, which is fine, since he only exists to provide exposition.
There’s a really unsavory sex scene in a frozen outhouse. Between characters that don’t really seem to have much in common. As soon as the sex barrier is broken, the Nazi zombies begin to show up. The film is really good about not showing the monsters for a long time. I like monster films that do that.
One the monsters do show up, though, the film changes tone dramatically. It ceases being creepy, slow and serious, and begins to resemble another one of the many “Dead Alive” knockoffs. This is not a bad thing. There are some wonderful scenes of gory mayhem, including a man’s brain falling whole onto a cabin floor, and another scene in which a man dangles off the edge of a cliff, clinging onto nothing but a zombie’s uncoiled intestines.
Eventually, just like in “Evil Dead” or something akin, there’s a battle royale of sorts between the heroes and the monsters, and there’s a lot of slicing and hacking and arterial spray on the snow. There’s even a scene in which a guy cuts off his own arm with a chainsaw. If there was a subgenre consisting of Raimi-esque Scandinavian Horror-Comedy Knockoffs, then “Dead Snow” would be at the forefront.
If the idea of zombie Nazis sounds fun to you, then I can wholly recommend “Dead Snow;” I had a god time with it. If the idea seems absurd to you, then the film will not be able to sell you.