December 12, 2011

Rabid Rewind: Dead Snow

Dead Snow
starring Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, and a bunch of Nazi zombies
directed by Tommy Wirkola
screenplay by Tommy Wirkola & Stig Frode Henriksen
Euforia Film (2009)

Roger Ebert loves every foreign film ever made; it's a fact. But I bet he had a hard time enjoying this one, assuming he gave up ninety minutes of his life to watch it. Dead Snow it turns out is Norway's answer to the question: Can Europe make a horror movie as cheesy as Sam Raimi?

The answer is yes.

A quintette of college students decided to spend spring break in a cabin in the mountains, but when they arrive their friend whose family owns the cabin isn't there yet. No matter, they've got a roaring fire and plenty of booze. Even the creepy old man who happens by while hiking doesn't faze them, though his tales of Nazi occupation in Norway and the villagers who finally chased them into the mountains to starve to death isn't exactly a cozy bedtime story.

Now, you might be wondering about the language barrier, so let me tell you: it's not an issue. If this was some drama with a lot of character development and riveting plot, there would be cause for concern for those with an aversion to subtitles. Dead Snow, however, doesn't suffer from such distractions. It's a bunch of zombies dressed as Nazis chasing idiots and ripping them limb from limb. That's your plot. I highly doubt this movie would benefit any great deal if the actors were speaking English. In fact, it's kind of nice, as bad acting is more palatable when you can't understand what the hell the actors are saying.

Some of the comedy bits were really effective. When one of the twenty-somethings hurls a Molotov cocktail at a zombie and winds up burning the cabin down. Moron. The trouble is that while I was laughing at the characters, I didn't care about them.

As for special effects go, they were good. I was worried the zombies and the gore was going to look really low-rent, but Wirkola and whoever his practical effects team was did a really good job in that regard. There was a point in the movie, however, where I suspected there has a half-off sale on intestines.

For zombie fans and folks who love campy horror flicks, this is a decent one to go with. If you want anything remotely cerebral though, sorry about your bad luck.

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