Eight medical students on a ski trip to Norway discover that Hitler’s horrors live on when they come face to face with a battalion of undead Nazi soldiers intent on devouring anyone unfortunate enough to wander into the remote mountains where they were once sent to die. It’s Easter vacation, and what better way to spend the break than skiing down the isolated hills just outside of Øksfjord, Norway? After packing their cars with enough beer and ski equipment to ensure that a good time will be had by all, the students set out for their destination and prepare for a relaxing snowbound getaway. Shortly after arriving at their remote cabin, however, the students receive an unexpected visit from a rather suspicious hiker. According to their shady visitor, the Nazis occupied this territory during World War II. In the aftermath of their brutal raping and pillaging, the locals revolted, driving the few surviving Nazi soldiers — including their iron-fisted leader, Colonel Herzog — deep into the hills. Neither the soldiers nor their leader were ever seen again. Everyone in town assumed that they simply froze to death. But there’s something stirring out there in the trees, and it won’t be long until the unsuspecting students discover how the story really ends. (summary from Fandango).
Wow, is anyone really surprised that the movie marathon would be a little zombie heavy? Well, I dove into the Nazi zombie extravaganza that is Dead Snow and I enjoyed myself. And was a little grossed out over hygiene. That is getting a little ahead of myself so let’s get to the second movie of this October movie marathon!
Dead Snow is a 2009 Norwegian zombie horror/comedy film directed by Tommy Wirkola, starring Charlotte Frogner, Stig Frode Henriksen, Bjørn Sundquist, Ane Dahl Torp, and Jenny Skavlan. The film premiered in the US at Sundance Film Festival and was released on DVD in 2010. The premise of the film is similar to that of the draugr, a Scandinavian undead that protects its stolen treasure.
What can I say about Dead Snow? Does it cross any new grounds with Nazi zombies? Nope. How about a group of 20 somethings going to a secluded location for drinking, sex, and sin? That has been done over and over. So what does the film have going for it? I would have to say an awareness of what it is. A gore filled, over-the-top, campy film that sets out to be exactly what it is. Wirkola has created a film that is fun, vicious, and violent all at the same time. The characters are fun and interesting. We are able to relate to them and I was actually sad to see them die. And they all do a lot of dying in spectacularly violent ways.
I do want to call out one of the most disturbing hook up that I have ever watched (seriously, I watch a lot of horror movies and this is saying a lot). Sex in an outhouse is bad enough. Licking a guy’s finger after he went to the bathroom (outhouse=no sink) is way too gross. Ew.
What else worked? The Nazi zombies themselves. The Colonel was sufficiently menacing while his soldiers were excellent chainsaw/hammer fodder while still getting in their own licks. The pop up out of the ground like an undead, twisted version of whack-a-mole and are pretty much treated as such.
The over-the-top violence was reminiscent of Evil Dead II (including an homage to Bruce Campbell amputating his own arm). Zombie guts were used as a rescue line, zombie heads are smashed in by foot or hammer, bodies are eviscerated, and a zombie bites off a singular male appendage (which cannot be amputated with a chainsaw). I thought the violence was spot on for what the movie was: a reminder of what fun, entertaining horror films can be.
Is Dead Snow the best zombie movie of all time? No, but it is a fun, enjoyable film that tries to entertain us horror fans in the best ways possible: with guts, relentless evil, and a whole lot of fun. Overall, I’d rate the film a 7 out of 10. It’s definitely worth a watch. All of you zombie fans and general horrors fans should check out the movie. News has also been released that a sequel to Dead Snow is in the works.