Ein! Zwei! Die!
Surely any horror movie that employs the use of Nazi zombies, two of the most evil things imaginable, is going to be a truly terrifying viewing experience. Not when the director – in this case Norwegian Tommy Wirkola, who co-wrote the screenplay but Stig Frode Henriksen – decides to go down the black comedy route, a narrative choice that may waste some of the nightmarish potential of its premise but results in a hugely entertaining, hugely bloody romp.
When a group of hardworking Norwegian medical students decide to spend their Easter break in the mountains, they are expecting a few days of skiing, sex and serious drinking. What they get, however, is a big surprise as they encounter long-undead Nazi zombies who seem determined to uphold their reputation by hunting and offing the youngsters in a series of increasingly nasty ways.
Although fans of Sam Raimi’s early work will find much that is familiar here (an isolated cabin becoming an outpost against the malevolent hordes is just one of the themes borrowed by Wirkola and Henrikson), it’s energetic and certainly entertaining. And things definitely pick up in the horror stakes when the zombies finally make their appearance half way through, and as the pristine snowbecomes spattered with blood, guts and entrails so the film lives up to its name. As the whole thing builds to a frenzied climax – that the final bloody battle is set to the rousing tones of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy should give you an idea of the film tone – so the special effects department work their fingers to the bone to create some truly OTT, visceral effects that will delight gore-hounds.
The cast, too, work hard throughout, throwing themselves into some truly disgusting situations without hesitation. Indeed, even though the film is undeniably played for laughs, the whole cast put in straight performances remaining believable in their roles even as the entire world goes to hell in a handbasket around them.
Like most horror movies, if you expect too much you will most likely be disappointed. But if you take it at face value, Dead Snow is a high-energy splatterfest that provides laughs and shocks in equal measure. 3.5 stars
The substantial making of makes up the bulk of the bonus features, and there are also featurettes on the make-up and special effects. Footage of the cast and crew at the Sundance Film Festival is also included. 2.5 stars
Stars Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen
Director Tommy Wirkola
Distributor E1 Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released August 31