Director: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner
Review Author: Tony
Synopsis: A group of medical students head up to their friend’s cabin for the Easter break for a weekend of drinking and partying. Unknown to them are the mountains are cursed by the remnants of a cruel nazi battalion who plagued a nearby town during WWII. When the group finds a stash of gold, silver and other trinkets the vengeful nazi zombies descend on the group to claim back what they stole.
Closing out this week’s focus on foreign language horror, I picked 2009s Norwegian horror comedy, Dead snow for a change of pace and something lighter. Dead Snow is Norway’s answer to the Evil Dead films, a campy splatterfest set within a cabin in the Norwegian backwoods. Considering I’m still avoiding dark corners after Pulse scared the life out of me, a horror comedy is the perfect antidote to wrap us this week and get ready for the final weeks’ schedule of horror icons.
There’s a meta/satirical element to Dead Snow where it just about pulls in every horror cliche there is, but done so purposefully. There’s even a film buff character literally naming the films used for inspiration (he’s wearing a Braindead t-shirt). One particular scene where two of our leads arm themselves with various appliances from the tool shed is a direct nod to Evil Dead 2, even shot in Sam Raimi’s zoom in, quick cut camerawork.
Relying on cliches and a familiar set up lead to a pretty dull first half as the film seems to go through the motions with flat characters and a mysterious stranger giving the exposition dump. While the film hints at the meta awareness, only naming similar films does nothing to make it stand apart. Borrowing so heavily from such well-known films with nothing new to say or any form of subversion just had me wanting to stick on any of the Evil Dead films instead.
Thankfully, the undead breath some life into the film as the attack on the cabin is wonderfully over the top. The FX team work overtime with the copious amounts of blood and guts on display. Every death and demise is a hilarious display of ultraviolence as our leads and zombies are dismembered, disembowelled, and decapitated. Some kills are ingeniously hilarious, especially when using a snowmobile as a weapon. The final 30 minutes are a riot as the film comes into its own through sheer pandemonium.
While siting through the first 40 minutes felt like a chore, the second half of Dead Snow is an entertaining horror comedy with plenty of gross out humour and creative kills for gore hounds of the genre. A cult classic among the community, Dead Snow spawned a sequel, Red vs Dead, which I hope to get my hands on soon.
This review is a part of this month’s focus on horror films as part of Halloween season. You can find the full schedule, along with weekly subgenre and previous reviews here.
Shot of Aquavit