Thursday, June 11, 2009

Review - Dead Snow

A group of medical students head to a secluded cabin in the Norwegian mountains for spring break. The group is met by a old man who warns them of mysterious inhabitants that stem back to the days of the holocaust. Before long the group come to find that they are being hunted down by Nazi zombies who intend to devour their flesh but are also in search for gold they lost at the end of World War II.

"Dead Snow" is a fun indie horror comedy that definately delivers in the area of gore and overall enjoyability. The film is very low budget looking like a direct to dvd film and is also extremely generic in it's story, however the overall tone and fun of the film outweigh some of the minor distractions. "Dead Snow" does not hold back any punches or apologize for it's premise, which is strictly focused on Nazi zombies. You can throw out any ideas that the film may be anything other than just a light-hearted horror film, one that is enjoyable and could definately be watched numerous times.

Director Tommy Wirkola presents a horror film in "Dead Snow," that doesn't claim to be thoughtful or deliver any grandiose story, instead it focuses on Nazi zombies, and all the pleasure they can bring. The film is much like Shaun of the Dead, uses thrills and jokes to play into the zombie genre of horror films. While some of the humorous dialogue doesn't translate well into English, the stunts, action and kills most definately do. For that matter, there are a few kills that are beyond outrageous and more than worth the price of admission to see them on screen.

The performances throughout "Dead Snow" are fine for a cast of unknown Norwegian actors. Vegar Hoel and Stig Frode Henriksen play Martin and Roy and their characters are very closely aligned to Shaun and Ed in Shaun of the Dead. They become the leaders of the group once the deadly onslaught of Nazi zombies are after the vacationing medical students and do an able job. The duo do a great job of fighting off the zombies and utilizing the tounge and cheek humor that is interlaced in the film. Lasse Valdal plays Vegard and he has some of the better fighting moments with the Nazi zombies as well.

Evy Kasseth Røsten, Ane Dahl Torp and Charlotte Frogner make up the female roles in "Dead Snow" and mainly go unnoticed. Charlotte Frogner is given the most to do out of the female roles and does a quality job of portraying the sense of urgency the group is faced with. That said, the true heroes of this film are surely the Nazi zombies and Ørjan Gamst is absolutely dreadful looking as general Herzog of the Nazi zombie army. The character I found a bit annoying was Jeppe Laursen as Erlend. His performance felt stolen from Nic Frost and wasn't very funny in the slightest. That said, Laursen does provide one of the best moments in the film (I won't spoil it for you), but it involves him dying.

One negative in "Dead Snow" is confusion on what exactly is driving the zombies. We all know zombies most definately feed on flesh (and they certainly do here), but the script has a second passion that these Nazi zombies crave, gold. Yup, that's right, gold. I'll save you the lame backstory, but at times you definately wonder, are the zombies going after flesh or the gold? Simply, it distracted me and felt unnecessary. Outside of that, one heaping pile of praise can be given to the special effects department. The effects are all created props, there is no cgi in this picture that a Mac couldn't create, instead everything is prop driven and it is a real refreshing. I truely enjoyed seeing intestines, limbs and heads flying and knowing that some special effects designer put a ton of work into making that prop, instead of just a team of guys working on some computer generated design that we see too often lately.

"Dead Snow" while lacking in originality was still a romping good time that will be a true joy for any horror fan. I mean were talking about Nazi zombies people! If that idea doesn't appeal to you, your more than likely not going to enjoy "Dead Snow" all that much, but if you hear Nazi zombies and scream, "Fuck yeah" there's no denying you'll enjoy "Dead Snow" for what it is. Finally, "Dead Snow" is definately worth seeing and most likely will become a permanent fixture in most horror fans homes.