December 2, 2014

Movie Review: Dead Snow

Nazi zombies, as a sub-genre of the horror genre and a sub-sub-genre of the zombie film, is one that is not very well packed with movies, but it is one everyone seems to know about. Even if they haven't seen a sample of said film, everyone acknowledges it like it is a thing. Considering the few titles that I have found that fall into this category, I am not sure it even qualifies. Still, I am pretty sure it doesn't really matter. This 2009 Nazi-zombie entry may be the most popular at the moment, but it still owes some credit to predecessors like Zombie Lake and, in particular, Shock Waves.

Dead Snow is a Norwegian film from writer/director Tommy Wirkola. It is by no means an original film, you will likely recognize bits here and beats there from other movies. This lack of overall originality is not a bad thing, as Wirkola injects a lot of energy into the tale and just makes it a lot of fun. It is hard not to enjoy this zombie romp. It also doesn't hurt that Norway has a history with WWII and that history helps build the believable world of Dead Snow. No, I also do not mean to imply that enemy occupation is a good thing, just that the addition of actual history helps with the overall feel of the movie.

The tale of the attacking undead hits all of the familiar beats. We have a pre-title sequence showing a zombie attack. It is an isolated killing, enough to whet the appetite and tease that there is carnage to come. We have the group of young victims who are placed in a secluded location, to prevent any help from arriving at the right time. We have partying kids with drinking and shenanigans. We have the older interloper who tells of the history and potential dangers. The kids ignore the warnings and are quickly beset by an attack of the undead. Finally, the climax arrives and it is up to our protagonists to find a way to survive as a the final attack comes with a shower of blood.

No, nothing terribly unfamiliar there. So, it begs the question, why is it so entertaining? I do not care what you say, but Dead Snow is an entertaining movie with a crazy final battle that is nice and bloody. Why this works is simple, Tommy Wirkola knows what he is doing. He knows he is not making an original movie so he spends the time and effort to make sure it is executed well. Energy and execution go a long way towards forgiving the lack of originality. He even gets a little Pirates of the Caribbean in there (not sure that was intended, but I see it).

Dead Snow may not have the atmosphere or creepiness of Shock Waves, or the low budget weirdo boredom of Zombie Lake, but it delivers the fun. I loved the movie nerd friend who tags along. I think the look of the Nazi-zombies is great, and the battle, complete with axes, hammers, guns, and chainsaws, is a blast. There really isn't all that much more to say. It looks great and is fun to watch, what else do you really need?


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