Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where's Mein Gold?

As you might guess from the title of this post, Nazi zombies have more in common with homicidal leprechauns than history textbooks tend to admit. And with that snappy intro, I give you Dead Snow.


Quick Plot:
A group of Norwegian medical students take a sure-to-be-doomed vacation in a snowy mountain cabin. Armed with beer and bad coffee, they revel in the typical young people-on-holiday-soon-to-be-atacked-by-R-rated-menace sort of way: snow mobiling to blasting music and sports channel editing, having sex in outhouses, and referencing the fact that they’re in the ideal situation for horror carnage.

And of course, they are, this time due to the unwelcome presence of buried Nazi soldiers with super strength, super speed, and an insatiable appetite for human flesh (Kosher or Aryan okay). Before you can say marzipan, our somewhat likable (nah; they’re all rather bland or annoying) human gang is whittled down in body parts and beating hearts. 

For whatever reason, filmmakers seem to pair Nazis and zombies like peanut butter and honey. Shockwaves, Blood Creek, Hard Rock Zombies (actually that’s not fair; the Nazis are responsible for the zombies, but the Germans of that classic big-hair ballad stick to eating themselves). On one hand, Dead Snow is simply another entry into a surprisingly packed subgenre filled with other familiar elements of cabin fever and pretty young people in peril (though to be meanly fair, the majority of the cast wouldn’t make it into the door of Melrose Place).

So plot and character-wise, Dead Snow is hardly innovative. At the same time, director Tommy Wirkola thankfully has a few new tricks up his thermal sleeves. After a been there, seen that opening act, the fun eventually picks up. The monster makeup looks great. The longer lifespanned humans demonstrate some spry self-defense and a few of the action sequences give us pleasantly icky twists. 
High Points
As I do a German folk dance around spoilers, allow my lederhosen to tear ever so suggestively with the compliment that the “final girl” twists were refreshingly new

Once Dead Snow gets kicking, there are some nifty gore-riffic moments that we haven’t really seen before, including a cliff-hanging via large intestines and a full-limb tear-off that calls to memory Captain Rhodes demise
Low Points
It’s personal taste (or lack thereof) but the rested metal soundtrack played during early montages made me feel cranky and old
Lessons Learned
Don’t be too surprised if your claustrophobic girlfriend isn’t turned on by you smothering her face with a couch pillow
On the other hand, pooping + slashers = huge turn on for select loose women

One more reason not to listen to heavy duty thrash metal: the volume turned up to 11 means your chance of hearing dying friends’ screams is below zero
Birds don’t respond to the human voice saying “ssshhh”
Rent/Bury/Buy
For the first 45 minute of Dead Snow, I felt a giant cloud of ‘meh’ floating over me. There just wasn’t quite enough promise to lift my expectations above “this is it?” territory, but once the mayhem started rolling, I genuinely had fun. Much like the recent I Sell the Dead, Dead Snow is an earnest and well-made horror film that never really rocked me, but was entertaining in a refreshingly 21st century with a hint of ‘80s throwback kinda way. This is the type of film that easily warrants a direct-to-DVD sequel, but doesn’t necessarily earn a $15 for a purchase. Rent it with friends and a case of Heineken.

6 comments:

  1. Been meaning to watch this one and ur just making me want to watch it even more! :)

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  2. Wow, I just deleted my comment by accident.

    I reviewed Dead Snow some time back and really enjoyed it too. Well, really as in about as much as you probably did. I had shit expectations, and even through all the cliches, I found the movie wildly entertaining.

    There are a few really cool shots, some creative kills, and the humor isn't too obnoxious either. Much better than I would have ever expected.

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  3. I had really looked forward to this flick after reading some of the advance press about it, but really, after viewing...eh... I felt like the tone of the film varied wildly; it seemed to toggle between Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness inconsistently, if that makes sense. There were some very cool set pieces, but I didn' really connect with the characters. The intestine scene, however, can't be fucked with. The poop-sex scene was just weirdly wrong, though.

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  4. Welcome & enjoy ReelyBored!

    Matt: The film starts off fine but feels so tired. Kids in a cabin, mysterious stranger, missing friend...once it hits that halfway point though it really does start to fly. I didn't love it, but it's so much more enjoyable than I expected. Some of those kills are far more interesting than they had to be and while the general plot is predictable, the execution keeps everything in check.

    Spooky: Some great points. I remember people getting really excited when it came out, but I've been far less enthusiastic about zombie films in recent years so my expectations were pretty meh. I would definitely agree regarding the characters. I liked that there was a twist with who lasted longest versus the usual survivor cliches, but I also didn't really have any investment in anyone onscreen. On the other hand, the poop sex didn't bother me (odd because I'm normally fairly annoyed by forced fecal fun).

    Your point about the Evil Dead mashup makes perfect sense, and I can see that really killing the film for some viewers. I think Dead Snow works best when it's in Evil Dead mode, where the gore is intense, the spirit, gently mean, and the comedy is still in touch with the horror before bordering into total goofy Army of Darkness territory.

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  5. I actually loved this movie a lot. Granted, I'm sure I haven't seen as many Nazi-Zombie films as you have so it didn't seem as clich├ęd and tired to me, also I did watch it with my boyfriend and some of his friends, and so I probably got a lot of my enjoyment out of the group of people I watched it with. I agree that the gory, over-the-top parts work better, and are more enjoyable than the beginning. I was strangely tickled by the guy in the beginning that shows up at the cabin after the kids are settled in and tells them the legend of the Nazis, not so much because of his Doom-Sayer status, but due to his complaints about the coffee.

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  6. I did love his reaction to the coffee. Also because I usually get annoyed by white females with dreads, so I was glad to see the main girl get put in her place for serving a shitty cup of joe! And I definitely agree that in a group, this movie would be a blast. It has a great spirit about it and makes for a fun party flick.

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