Dead Snow has been given a lot of exposure. Lots of hype leads to high expectations. And surely, when it comes to zombie-nazis, those expectations will ultimately be met.
But there have been a lot of zombie films recently. And there is plenty more to come, with Zombieland and others on their way. Have we reached saturation point?
So, I press play to find out.
A group of young kids go on a short trip to the snowy wilds of Northern Europe. They plan to play, drink and generally do all of those naughty things that usually get teens killed in these situations (alone in a remote log cabin).
On the first night a strange man stops by to warn them all of the hidden evil up in the mountains – a lost band of german soldiers who like to come out at night to play with people’s intestines (that’s right, intestines, not brains).
When the group find some nazi gold under the floorboards, the zombies come to life and generally start to make their lives difficult.
Tommy Wirkola is relatively new on the scene and it’s obvious that he has a passion for horror. I like the back story, the cast are great, and as far as generic teen horror movie plots go, this ain’t half bad.
The zombie conventions are obeyed to an extent, whilst making sure that we’re all kept on our toes with surprises and unpredictable twists.
One of the characters is a movie nerd, and in my mind is a personification of Wirkola. This character’s role in the film – other than to make sure that the geeks are represented – is to nod to various influences as the story unfolds.
Early on, he discusses Evil Dead, which is an obvious inspiration, with the short ‘lock and load’ montage shots when weapons and equipment are involved; and later when one of the group chain-saws his own arm off.
Later, the same character wears a Braindead t-shirt. Another apparent influence on Dead Snow’s uber-gore.
Now, although I appreciate ‘nods’, I must admit that they are becoming a bit tiresome. Mainly because I always feel that I have to point them out to people… As I just did. It irritates me as much as it does you. Sorry.
But as the chacters fight for their survival, and Vegard searches for his missing girlfriend, you forget the nods and irritations and slip straight back into the experience.
In the same zom-com vein as Shaun of the Dead, this Scandinavian offering straddles the line between horror and humour. Making gore fun and allowing us to be just that little bit less petrified by the monsters under the snow.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the trailer almost gave too much away (I hate it when trailers do that). But the quality of production, the convincing performances by the cast (I can’t really fault any of them), and the general pace of it all are spot on.
The zombies are fast, intelligent and pretty much unstoppable. Much like the hype train which continues to pre-ceed the movie.
Yes, I do feel that the zombie idea is getting a little diluted with the sheer saturation of zombie flicks, but it remains that this film is a gem. Make sure you catch it as soon as possible.
Additional film information: Død snø (2009)