Movie Review: World War II Nazi Zombies Run Amok in Dead Snow (Død snø)

10 Jun
2010

When eight students head into the mountains for Easter break at an isolated cabin in the woods, a strange man proceeds to tell them the horrible tale of a Nazi group, who during World War II, were notorious for causing murder, mayhem and dabbling in stealing treasures not too far from their current location. They laugh at the man and brush off his crazy story as folklore fiction, until one of them disappears and zombies infiltrate the cabin.

Dead Snow, a Norwegian export directed by Tommy Wirkola, starts out with a young woman (Ane Dahl Torp) running through the snow covered woods of Norway, when she is devoured by a zombie. Cut to scenes of joyous friends (played by Lasse Valdal, Charlotte Frogner, Stig Frode Henriksen, Bjørn Sundquist, and Jenny Skavlan) who’ve come together for a quiet vacation in the mountains, and it plays out like an ordinary set-up in a horror film. They laugh at one another and bicker, there are playful shots of them frolicking together in outdoor activities, a gratuitous sex scene,  the let’s all sit around telling stories and oooh-I-found-something-secretly-hidden-inside-the-house-let’s-see-what-it-is moment that starts the snowball rolling into zombie territory. I wouldn’t do that if I were you.

Once they find that secret in the house, the mayhem starts when the Nazi zombies end up on their doorstep. What made these characters in peril different than most in horror films, was they at least tried to kick ass instead of screaming and cowering in a corner.  Some went to great lengths to assure their endurance; like sewing their own neck shut or killing crows that wouldn’t shut up.

The zombie make-up is pretty effective and authentic. The zombies don’t jerk and jiggle too much; they know how to walk and are intelligently organized. Zombies with brains. One doesn’t even know if they are contagious. People do get bitten but it’s never explored, because it is not necessary to the storyline, it’s all about ‘the hunt’ and intestines. Intestines play a recurring role in Dead Snow. I am not sure if it was intentional with some greater hidden meaning or the special effects department simply had an affinity for entrails.

The ending is par for the course with movies in this genre. It can only go one way or another, so no there is no dramatic twist at the finale, sorry. Blood spattering gore, unique survival techniques and a believable cast make this movie very entertaining.

Rating: 8/10 stars
Running time: 90 minutes

Review I originally wrote for Open Book Society.

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