Saturday, October 3, 2009

DEAD SNOW (2009)

ZOMBIE MOVIE SURVIAL TIP: During a zombie attack, do not hide in the outdoor shitter, for the undead are not persnickety.

THE CARD:

Wacky Norwegians and their wacky land of Norwegia; good ol’ fashioned outhouse humping; the most creative use of a snowmobile and slimy intestines, snow thrills and snow kills; and Nazi zombies not hired by Newscorp.

More details here.

THE ANGLE:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Eight young Norwegian medical students head out to the mountains for a weekend of ice-fishing, mullet-wine chugging, sitting around looking sad, and death metal listening. Or whatever the hell they do for fun up there. And of course, their remote cabin is located in bucolic icy splendor in the middle of nowhere with few amenities and no cell phone reception. You know, Norway. Our gang is comprised of Martin (Vegar Hoel) who ironically gets sickened by the sight of blood, his claustrophobic girlfriend Hanna (Charlotte Frogner), handsome adrenaline junkie Vegard (Lasse Valdal), horny fjord fucker Roy (Stig Frode Henriksen), movie nerd and mandatory fat guy Erlend (Jeppe Laursen), hot for fatty Chris (Jenny Skavlan), and the only looker in the bunch Liv (Evy Kasseth Røsten). They party it up and frolic in the snow while waiting for Vegard’s girlfriend Sara (Ane Dahl Torp) who has decided to hike to the cabin rather than drive. Big mistake as she becomes Nazi zombie fodder. Said SS of the Undead are the remnants of a troop of vicious Nazis that once controlled an outpost in this section of Norway in the last days of World War II. We learn this from Creepy Old Guy (Bjorn Sundquist) who shows up at the cabin to warum up and to rile the nerves of the rowdy kids. The Nazis were led by the uber-sadistic Colonel Herzog (Orjan Gamst) who pillaged and tortured the residents before pissing off into the woods after an uprising at the close of the war. For some unknown reason, Herzog and his men have been re-animated by some unexplained force and attack anyone who ventures into the mountain. So Creepy Old Guy gets disemboweled like der weinerschnitzel and our friends are faced with an unstoppable menace that require more than Simon Weisenthal, Captain America, and a box of Star of David ninja stars to stop.

THE FINISHER:

Loving or hating Norwegian horror pic Dead Snow doesn’t require a whole lot of energy. If you do not like gore, comedy, the trappings of zombie plots, and high-spirited horror references, then don’t bother. If you love the above plus you don’t give a crap about your mental health, then Dead Snow comes wholeheartedly recommended. Finally, someone took the initiative to come up with a Nazi zombie movie, a villainous concept that’s been referred to in earlier attempts such as The Keep (yeah, I know they weren’t zombies) but never fully fleshed out in zombie movie format as we know it today*. Although not a new hallmark in the zombie genre, the movie is nonetheless hysterical, blood-drenched, and a twisted homage to American horror films that have obviously shaped writer/director Tommy Wirkola. It’s also a lot of fun, so take that for what it’s worth. There are a couple of things that came up in the movie that irk me, but not just about this film. Irksome things come up in every new zombie movie I see, whether it’s a big-budget extravaganza or low-budget homemade fare. Be warned that these are probably nerdy nitpicks. One thing in particular is the strength of zombies. Horror fans argue about fast rampaging zombies over the slow stumbling zombies. This is an argument that I've gotten over. If the story, acting, scares, and gore are good, then I’m up for anything. What concerns me more is how powerful the zombies are portrayed. In Dead Snow, they crush a guy’s head like it’s a freshly boiled egg, yet they are unable to smash through a simple wooden building or a barely hinged outhouse. Dumb. Thing number two is how quickly “normal” characters transform into chainsaw-wielding deadshot warriors after only a few tangles with the hungry undead. This instantaneous character turn is actually a problem with most horror and action movies, but it’s most prevalent in zombie movies. I like to call this “Ash Disease”, a nod to Bruce Campbell’s character in the Evil Dead movies, whose instant-badass turn was actually a novel turn of genius, but overused since. Thing number three isn’t really a problem but a realization that 99% of zombie movies, with very few exceptions, are actually comedies. What other horror sub-genre allows you to completely enjoy the desecration of a human body with unfettered glee? In slashers, we cringe and scream. In torture films, we shudder and look away. In monster movies, we howl and gasp. But in zombie movies we laugh our bloodthirsty asses off. It’ll take more than a review of Dead Snow, a pleasurable, clever and frenzied zombie movie, to fully analyze this fantasy phenomenon that I’m sure other academicians of horror have already covered.

*If I’m wrong, please send me some titles!

1 comment:

Francisco Gonzalez said...

"Finally, someone took the initiative to come up with a Nazi zombie movie, a villainous concept that’s been referred to in earlier attempts such as The Keep (yeah, I know they weren’t zombies) but never fully fleshed out in zombie movie format as we know it today*"

There have been more Nazi Zombie movies in the past actually, its a little sub genre all its own.

Unfortunately, they just arent all that good! Actually non of the nazi zombie movies are good.

Even the one thats considered the best of the bunch (Shockwaves) turns out to be a freaking bore of a watch, the only saving grace for Shockwaves were its eerie zombies coming out of the water visuals.

Heres the ones that I have seen:

Oasis of the Zombies

Zombie Lake (Nazi Zombies emerge from a lake)

Shockwaves (considered the best of the nazi zombie movies)

SS Doomtrooper (Nazi Mutated Super Soldier)

Deathship (Nazi Ghosts)