Død snø

Synopsis: Get ready for the film that shocked Sundance, rocked Europe and knocked American horror fans out of their seats: When a group of medical students take a sex-and-booze-fueled ski vacation to a remote cabin in the Norwegian Alps, they uncover a dark secret from WWII that resurrects a battalion of uncontrollable, unstoppable and extremely undead Nazis. What follows is a blitzkrieg of bloodshed, body parts and action-packed zombie carnage that The New York Observer hails as “relentless thrills, unimaginable horrors and a shock ending guaranteed to make you scream out loud!” Writer/director Tommy Wirkola spares no amount of flesh-chomping, intestine-ripping, and chainsaw-slicing to deliver perhaps the finest Nazi Zombie movie of our time and one of the most ferocious, outrageous and over-the-top horror hits of the year!

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Død snø 7.5

Zombie Nazis. With regards to a horror movie, those two words together should spell schlocky fun. At least, that’s what I was expecting from the moment that I discovered its existence.

Never did I expect the film to be such a great production, with good actors, solid direction and so forth. It’s a damn shame that it left me completely indifferent. sad

I can’t quite put my finger on the exact reason why, but I watched this movie with a sense of detachment that is very rare. I realized that something was up approximately 20 minutes into the film, but I assumed it was simply due to the slow set-up of the film.

Sadly, I never really recovered. Or, rather (instead of instilling blame on the first bits of the film), I should say that my enthusiasm never rose. From one spooky sequence to the next, I never warmed up to ‘Dead Snow’, remaining unmoved by what was happening onscreen.

A part of me suspects that the problem was a lack of identification with any of the characters. While the acting was decent for the genre, the characters themselves didn’t reel me in; I found each one of them blander than snow, was disinterested in what they were doing and, thus, couldn’t care less about their respective fates.

The big question, of course, is whether or not I started the film already immune to these artificial cinematic attachments. Perhaps even the most emotional silver screen masterpiece would have left the stone in my chest completely cold. I highly doubt it, but it’s definitely something to consider. cool

From my detached perspective, I watched the film with a different set of eyes; I paid attention to the details a bit more than usual and was left veritably incredulous.

For starters, there are the zombies. This particular breed of zombies are more human than undead. In fact, the only real difference between a human being and these zombies is that they looked somewhat unwell, they growl like lions and were superhumanly fast and strong. Beyond that, they probably eat, crap and sleep like human beings do. confused

Case-in-point, despite being 70-years old, these undead creatures (who pop up out of nowhere with no explanation as to what they’ve been up to for all these years!), actually bleed, appear to feel pain, get exhausted while running (you can’t see their breath, thankfully – but you magically can’t see it on human beings either! confused), and move like regular people. Basically, they were more akin to the killers in slasher films than to the prototypical zombie.

Except that there were SO many of them! There were countless dozens of these superhuman killing machines! So how could this handful of kids possibly survive as long as they did (no big surprise: they don’t all make it wink) with such a large number of psychotic mass-murderers on their tail? Heck, in a regular horror movie, you only need one of these guys to kill all the kids… confused

Speaking of which, some of the kids are pretty darned resilient! A couple of them (guys, of course! confused) suffer these massive wounds and carry on as though nothing happened. One guy even stitches a neck wound closed by himself (with a fishing hook, no less!), and another amputates his own arm and runs through snow despite suffering from a serious groin wound. shock

Jiminy cricket! I know some people who can barely get out of bed when they have a sniffle!

By the end, it pretty much turns to a total farce, with countless dozens of zombie Nazis in full attack mode. And yet these medical students find ways to defeat large numbers of them – without combat training or any long-range weapons (it was all mano-a-zombio). confused

On the positive side of things, the film has a nice visual style, decent audio (although the volume was inconsistent and got WAY too loud sometimes. As well, the surround activity was limited to the scary bits – great occasions were front-heavy because they weren’t scary confused). The action was well-executed, the moments of “terror” were well-done and the pacing was very good. smile

Like I mentioned before, it’s a quality production – hence the rating I gave it. In my mind, the issue is the script, as it has no juicy dialogue, is weak on characterisation and the story is basically a shell that’s reminiscent of slasher films I’ve seen countless times before. It’s hardly novel.

In fact, the title alone should have given me a clue of how creative this film is. I mean, really: ‘Dead Snow’. Aside from sounding cool, what exactly is ‘Dead Snow’? What does that mean, really? I’d agree that it’s better than ‘Nazi Zombies Slaughter Teens in Midwinter’, but it still doesn’t mean anything. ‘Evil Dead’ has meaning. ‘Night of the Living Dead’ suggests something. ‘Dead Snow’, though? Absolute zero. confused

And yet, despite the fact that I think that it’s “dumb fun” but with an accent on “dumb” and without much of the fun I expected to have, I can’t bring myself to knock it too much. I think that ‘Dead Snow’ is actually quite alright, even if it left me cold. smile

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