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I was lucky enough to be invited to see the Norwegian
Nazi-zombie-movie, Død snø , in a private screening in Os International
Film Festivalen in Norway. This film has the best tag line ever: Ein!
Zwei! Die! So my expectations were pretty high on this one!
The director Tommy Wirkola first got famous in Norway with a movie called Kill Buljo: The Movie, which is a Norwegian parody of Kill Bill. He now continues in the same comedy/homage/genre field and very successfully I may add. The movie really is as good as it sounds and on top of that it is actually unique. I really like Tommy Wirkolas ability to combine homage with something new and interesting; not a very easy thing to do folks!
Død snø is basically a teenager-slasher-horror-comedy with Nazi-zombies. The storyline is pretty basic; it's about these teenagers that go up to a cabin in the mountains in the middle of winter and get ambushed by a punch of zombies. Yeah, you know the drill But this one really delivers, and all the clichés are used to benefit the film. You can see a lot of influences from past genre movies and it is filled with homage towards them. Everyone who likes these kinds of films will have a blast at the movie theater; I laughed my ass off!
So goo see this film!!! I give it 5 stars!
first of let me just say i am a huge zombie/gore/horror fan and there are few known movies i haven't seen during my years on this planet. with that said i have to say that "Dead Snow" is by far the best Zombie movie i have ever seen. everything clicked perfectly together. the humor was spot on and the gore was just priceless beyond belief. this film is just eye candy for the hordes of horror fans out there. i loved the theme music in the opening sequence, very appropriate and perfect for troll like Zombies. the countless references to classic movies like "Evil Dead", "friday the 13th", "april fools day", "braindead" and of course various Zombie movies was just phenomenal. The filmmakers make no attempt what so ever to hide the fact that this film is almost purely based on these movies, and that my friends is a golden ticket to a inexplicable gore-fest of uber Zombies, a Chainsaw and a lot of intestines being ripped out in the best of entertaining ways. WATCH this film and you wont regret it! i'll give you my word as a true horror fan.
Norwegian film makers get it. This is how to make a cool movie; balance the humor and horror, special effects that don't over power the movie, and most importantly: actors that care what they are doing and do it well! Fritt Vilt one and two (Two not being as good as the first, but that's the norm) were leagues over what Hollywood has put out in over 20 years, just small budget horror from people who care what they put out. My only complaint is that it's hard to get these movies in North America and even harder to get English subtitles, but that is in no way a knock to these fine movies. If you can get hold of the these films and are a horror buff, find them, you won't be disappointed. Keep it up Norway!!!!!!
Heading into Dead Snow I was pretty much expecting a Shaun of the Dead
type horror flick. Something with more comedy than horror. Which isn't
really the case here. It's consistently filled with small or big jokes,
but thankfully it's more horror oriented. I suppose I thought this
because of the awesome poster displaying a decapitated half-head of a
nazi-zombie lying in the snow giving the onlooker a weird look. Not too
mention a dude with a blood-drenched chainsaw behind the head. I'm not
the biggest fan of hor-coms, but I was really interested in this one
because of the whacky premise. So, was it a blizzard of bliss, or a
storm of suckage?
The story revolves around a bunch of medical students getting away for some rest and relaxation during the Easter break. Unknown to them, they've set up camp at the absolute wrong place. Back in the day, evil Nazi's used these hills for an escape route or safe haven way back when, and it's said that this is where they supposedly holed up and eventually died. Well, they ain't all that dead. They look it, but they ain't dead. Our medical students eventually meet these blood-thirsty German maniacs and the red stuff starts flowing. A mad dash for survival ensues, and it all ends up being a 'hail' of a lot of fun.
The flick isn't perfect as it suffers some from small horror clichés, like dumb decision making. But at the same time, they handle these clichés in a somewhat refreshing manner. Some cheap scare tactics are used early on to get you on edge, but those are barely used later on, when violence and creative gore take hold.
Dead Snow really surprised me. I wasn't expecting such a fun flick. The characters were all well-fleshed out, the dialogue well-written and funny, the gore aplenty, the horror nods abundant and awesome (Braindead t-shirts?!), and even the score and soundtrack were good. This should become a pretty big hit for horror fans, well I hope so anyways.
Tommy Wirkola sure knows how to make a zombie film! Not only does he
reference many classic zombie films, but in turn he makes his own
unique spin on the zombie tale and he does it well. The plot has
striking resemblance to many slashers, as it starts off with a group of
medical students taking a ski vacation. However, it takes a turn with
random when Nazi Zombies decide to ruin their fun in order to take back
their stolen treasures. Dead Snow has many things going for it apart
from its odd story; it is well written and directed, all the actors are
very good and the gore levels are extremely high and rival almost every
modern zombie flick.
It goes to show that foreign horror (especially European) is loads better than most American trash released. This film comes from Norway and is a shining example. Simple in its execution, with a group of like-able characters, a witty script and much disemboweling and de-limbing, Dead Snow is one of the year's best horror films and should make its way into many Top lists soon enough.
Last year Sweden stormed the horror front with an introspective,
brooding character piece that doubletimed as a stylish vampire flick in
the form of LET THE RIGHT IN. This year it's Norway's turn in the
Scandinavian horror helm with DEAD SNOW. If the former retained some of
the glacial minimalism of their fellow countryman and all-around
venerable cinema giant Ingmar Bergman, Wikola's zombie slasher flick
isn't too proud to have a chubby horror fan sporting a BRAINDEAD tshirt
make out with a horny chicka in an outhouse while nazi zombies stalk
the perimeters about.
Wearing its influences on the proverbial sleeve with the same cheering aplomb the characters discuss movies like Friday THE 13TH and EVIL DEAD, keeping tongue firmly in (someone's) cheek and regularly closing its eye to the audience in conspiratorial agreement, DEAD SNOW is a consistently entertaining little slasher flick even if with hardly an original bone in its body. Hearkening back to a long tradition of youth-gone-wild-in-the-middle-of-nowhere horror flicks and substituting the usual assortment of demons, hillbillies or cannibals that usually populate these movies with nazi zombies fresh thawed-out from their icy graves, the movie strikes a careful balance between the cartoonish and the horrific, while remaining bloody enough (even with CGI blood) to satisfy gore enthusiasts.
That's not to say the movie is without faults. It's baffling how, out of the elaborate mythology and various occult theories that surround the Nazis, the writer manages to come with the most flimsy, pedantic of backstories for the zombies. A little research would've gone a long way to turn it into something more interesting. While the build-up in the first half is carried on the backs of actors who make up for their lack of great acting chops with genuine chemistry, the second half can be a bit aimless and meandering. You can run in the woods from zombies only for so long. When the characters put up a fight though, chainsaw and hammer in hand, it's as good as it's ever been.
Overall a surprisingly entertaining, competently made movie that hides its relative low-budget behind a professional look and fan enthusiasm. Bound to be one of the crowdpleasing horror-comedies of the year even if it veers closer to forgettable than great in the long run.
The mandatory circumstances to watch a movie like "Dead Snow" are as follows: at a horror themed festival amongst hundreds of outrageously enthusiast and derailed fellow genre fanatics - preferably at 3am on a weekend night and surrounded by booze and snacks. If this shouldn't be possible, try and gather as many friends together for a drunken movie night, but whatever you do, don't watch this cheerfully repugnant and positively demented movie all by yourself as it is too much of a crowd-pleaser! The formula of laugh-evoking zombie splatter movies isn't new (even Nazi zombie movies have been done before, for example "Shock Waves" and "Zombie Lake"), but spirited and ambitious young filmmakers never cease to invent original variations on the sub genre. Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola took his cast & crew high up north, for a splatter film in a beautiful and isolated snowy setting. A group of medical students that are also die-hard horror movie freaks trek to a remote mountain cabin for a weekend of snow scooter fun, drinking and casual sex. The first night of their arrival already, they receive a visit from a mysterious and grumpy old local who tells them a grotesquely absurd story about sinister events that occurred in the area near the end of WWII. The atmospheric tale says that fed up villagers combined forces and chased their Nazi occupants into the mountains where they all froze to death. The clique laughs away the warnings, but subsequently discovers a box of old coins that promptly resurrects an army of Nazi soldiers in a far developed state of decomposition. The first half of "Dead Snow" is slow-paced, atmospheric and full of little tributes to classic zombie movies; particularly "The Evil Dead" movies. The students are standard horror stereotypes, including the nerd and the blond bimbo, and thus the first half also contains childish pranks and gratuitous sex sequences. As soon as the Nazi zombies emerge, however, "Dead Snow" is a non-stop spitfire of blood, gore and intestines. Apparently the production of this film required 450 liters of fake blood, and that isn't nearly so surprising if you watch the end result. There's chainsaw action, decapitations, rope pulling with intestines, axe murders, machine gun concerts and disembowelment. The effects are top-notch in spite of the obvious budgetary restrictions, and the make up art on the zombies is very impressive. The rotting uniformed corpses look quite menacing, especially their leader. The snowy landscapes are beautiful picture to behold, although it's even more amusing to see the white snow color red with blood! Tommy Wirkola is a clearly talented director and hopefully a promising long career awaits him.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Do I have complaints about Dead Snow, a movie about a group of
Norwegian medical students who take their skis up to a cabin away from
everybody only to discover to their baffled horror that nazi undead
lurk and kill and go all Lephrachaun over a booty of coins and jewels
hidden in said cabin? Well, perhaps, it could have gone a little
further in some spots. The Nazis are decked out in their military garb,
suits and helmets, but only a handful have the swastika arm-bands, none
with Hitler mustaches, and only once does a zombie (Col. Herzog,
perfect name by the way) actually utter a phrase, which is "ARISE" for
his horde of solider to stampede after the hapless teens. The rest of
it? Nope, nothing much to complain really.
The director is Tommy Wirkola, and he's done something I didn't expect going in: he made a movie that is shot with a level of competency that goes a couple of notches above just simple B-movie twaddle, or rather he doesn't rest solely upon it. Indeed some scenes, like when characters are buried under feet of snow or someone goes out into the dead of night, there's a dread that can be comparable to the recent film The Descent. It's a well made movie that happens to be about 55% of the time as campy and gore-riffic as anything one's seen this year outside of the Japanese Tokyo Gore Police school. On top of this, there's a clever twist on horror conventions; one of the characters is a movie geek (Evil Dead and Friday the 13th are mentioned), and the tropes like having sex and then getting killed or the stranger who explains everything early on and then gets slaughtered first, are chalked up royally... and then come the Third Reich.
Oh it's such a blast, Dead Snow is. At first you get immersed with the characters, even if they are only marginally interesting or compelling, and then when it comes time for these medical students (who apparently have such mad skills at it they can do things like wield weaponry and sew up their body parts when need be) kick major ass. This movie is made for people who want a good solid zombie movie that combines comedy, tension, and enough ridiculous motions to go a long enough way to make things always entertaining. It's almost a study in how to uplift past conventional crap into something artful and electrifying. It's also cheesy and stupid and a bucket of crazy when it can get to that point (I mean, Colonel Herzog, come on!) Bottom line, pair this with and the other midnight movie festival hit Hysterical Psycho and you got a smashing double feature.
Come on! It was fun! Zombified Nazi soldiers from the war are attacking
a bunch of students. And the students fight back. A lot of references
to Evil Dead here, a lot of fun, stupendous gore, with all the guts and
brains and blood you would ever want.
At times the humour in the film actually hurt the viewing, since it was obviously artificial, so the greatest flaw of the movie, according to yours truly, is that it was not consistent, ever shifting from parody to the real thing. But eve so, it was tons of fun.
Although I have to admit, the funniest part of the movie is when the Nazi zombie officer appears with a spotless officer hat. I can only imagine the poor guy, eternally cleaning his military attire.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dead Snow unfolds with a very classical setting: a group of youngsters
are heading for a cabin, with the intentions to drink, party and
preferably have sex through the whole weekend. But, as we are talking
about a Norwegian film, the events take place during wintertime, and
the cabin is located high up in the mountains, in the middle of endless
fields of snow.
What starts out as a fun in the snow and sun, snowball fights, fooling around with a motor sled and a Stiga, soon turns into a gory zombie onslaught as the kids find a box full of Nazi gold that definitively doesn't belong to them.
The unique setting in the genre gives an unforgettable flavor to the easily one of the greatest zombie films that I've seen in ages. Director Tommy Wirkola breaks most of the deeply-rooted Zombie traditions with Norwegian rock and metal banging in the background - the Zombies run, think and even talk (well, just one word). Död Snö manages to do what many have tried and almost as many have failed while trying: it's entertaining, scary, agonizing, bloody, fun and kicks in like a 12-pack of beer. The story is well written, actors do awesome an job and director Wirkola's comedy timing is excellent, as is his ability to build up the horror. He seems to know exactly how scary place an outhouse can be when it's -20 degrees outside, in the middle of the night. Added with a Nazi zombie roaming outside, it's definitively not a place you'd like to be with your pants around your ankles.
Död Snö is a wonderful piece of film that isn't ashamed of it's roots and language, and stands proudly as one of the great examples of Norther horror wave that's going strong right now (with Sauna and Let the Right One In).
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