A Norwegian Nazi zombie film – sounds crazy right? And it is!
Directed by Tommy Wirkola (who became famous for his Kill Bill spoof Kill Buljo: The Movie), Dead Snow ranks among classics like Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead and the 1977 under-appreciated Nazi zombie film Shock Waves, starring Peter Cushing. Although it’s more Shaun of the Dead in tone than the aforementioned films it does feature a ton of blood, guts and, of course, Nazi zombies.
A group of medical students, consisting of the typical chubby movie nerd, hot chick who doesn’t have a date, down-to-earth couple, sarcastic guy and a “Mr. Outdoors” type, go vacationing at a cabin in the woods near Øksfjord, Norway. While waiting for their friend (and owner of the cabin) Sara (Ane Dahl Torp) to arrive, the group plays in the snow, has a game of Twister and drinks a lot. Nightfall arrives, and a visitor (credited as The Wanderer) comes to the door. They invite the stranger in, give him some coffee and then he tells them how Øksfjord is home to an evil force left over from World War II. Thinking the guy is bananas, and justifiably so, they send him on his way.
Cut to a scene of the strange guy being brutally attacked by a Nazi zombie.
The next day Sara still hasn’t arrived and her friends are worried. Her boyfriend Vegard (Lasse Valdal) heads out alone to search for her on a snowmobile (or snow-scooter as they call it). While Vegard is out, the rest of the group hangs around bored until they find a box of old gold coins. This box, they find out, is the key that awakens all the Nazi zombies. Soon heads are being ripped off, intestines are spilling and one-liners are being spit out so quick it’s hard to keep up.
Crazy enough for you?
Along with the gore and comedy there are a few genuinely scary scenes. The mood (lighting, sound, cinematography) is outstanding for a low-budget film and the zombie makeup and costumes put the new Romero film – Survival of the Dead – to shame. Also, having most of your action take place in crisp, white snow makes the blood and guts even more vibrant.
Dead Snow is a new classic in my books and a must-see for any horror buff (especially before an American remake is planned). If you miss it in the theatre, it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on October 20th.
Norwegian with English subtitles. Playing at the AMC Yonge-Dundas in Toronto and Tinseltown 12 in Vancouver.
**** out of 5 stars