If the worst day of your life consisted of accidentally killing your girlfriend with an axe, chain-sawing your own arm off, and watching in horror as your closest friends were devoured by a zombified Nazi battalion, you'd have to assume that things couldn't get much worse. In Martin's case, that was only the beginning.Written by
Nazi zombies! 2009's Norwegian horror film 'Dead Snow' was the very definition of a 'high concept' movie, given that it could be fully described and sold with those two words (and punctuation). I found it no more than OK, but someone would appear to have appreciated it because Hollywood tapped director Tommy Wirkola up for 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters', starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton.
Again, critical reviews were somewhat frosty (no pun intended), but H&G:WH made a comfortable profit, and Wirkola has used his industry cred to come back to 'Dead Snow' for a sequel.
The Hollywood influence is evident in several areas of 'Dead Snow 2'. It is considerably larger in scale, for a start, including pitch battles between the undead fascists and their new (or rather, old) Communist adversaries, as well as a tank, large numbers of extras, and a lot more daylight wide shots that indicate a higher budget.
Then there are the American characters, leading to a lot of the dialogue being in English, which is bound to raise the international saleability. It is also a lot funnier. The original played it more-or-less as a straight horror, buying into the ridiculous premise, but the sequel highlights this incongruity for comedic effect.
There are also a few jokes at the expense of the Americans, sly cinematic digs and a whole lot of gore that leans towards the slapstick side. It reminded me more than anything of the Finnish 'Nazis on the Moon' comedy 'Iron Sky', and that is a positive association in my book.
The music is very well-used, and I detected hints of world-building in the nature and rules of the resurrection, raising the prospect of an entire 'Dead Snow' series. There are some slightly uncomfortable hints of terrorist Anders Breivik in the demented Norwegian main character, taking extreme actions in response to a threat others cannot (initially) believe, but maybe I am just reading too much into it.
It's all exuberant fun, with a commendable sense of its own ridiculousness. Some of the gags are a bit low-brow for me, but others are genuinely funny, end even quite witty. Dead Snow 3? Why not, I'd watch!
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