A group of Norwegian friends get the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to the snowy town of Øksfjord, where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area. Armed with a machine-gun-equipped snowmobile, the gang fights for survival in director Tommy Wirkola’s quirky horror, shot on location in the mountains of Norway. The film had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Rating: 3 out of 10
“Dead Snow” is a Frankenstein combination of several good horror films. It has the living dead aspect of “The Night of the Living Dead,”,has the tongue in cheek nature of “Evil Dead,” the winter background of John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” and it has the bad guys coming back to claim old treasure element of “The Fog.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything very good and comes across as a pale emulation that tried too hard but forgot to actually write a script. It has the usual horror element: several friends go on a vacation getaway (Hostel and Final Destination 2 among others) to a cabin (Evil Dead and Cabin Fever) where they are visited by an odd man bringing foreboding news of doom and gloom (Friday the 13th) and are eventually attacked by bloodthirsty zombies (28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead) who are after their gold (The Fog) while one of the guys in the group constantly references movies (Scream). Sound original? Yeah, I thought the same thing.
So, without any originality whatsoever, does it at least give us some good scares? I certainly didn’t feel fear for one second because so many of the director’s decisions are really puzzling. For example, why Nazi zombies? I know it’s a German film and all but is that really scary in any way? If you were to walk outside right now and see a zombie dressed as a member of Nazi Socialist Party complete with World War II helmets, jackets, bayonets, and grenades, wouldn’t you laugh your ass off? I know I would. The director even tries to spice up the way they look by constantly having them drool blood. Where does all this blood come from? Do they have some unlimited supply in their home underneath the snow on a mountain where they’ve been dormant for 65 years that they can keep in their cheeks? Look, I’m not trying to overanalyze this. I mean, we can all agree it’s a really dumb idea to dress zombies up as Nazis and somehow think it will frighten an audience. But, when I’m bored, this is what I do. I nitpick things that shouldn’t be nitpicked because the filmmakers have given me no reason to give a shit about the plot, characters, or entertainment value. One more observation I noticed during this turd sandwich: for half of the movie, all of the characters’ faces are absolutely covered in blood. I’m sure it was done on purpose for effect, but c’mon, we can all deal with the blood splash on the face right after someone has killed a zombie but these people have never heard of wiping their face on their sleeve? It’s not subtle. Their faces are completely covered in long blood splash lines that run across their entire face. It’s just one annoying decision in a long line of them that holds this film back from even being fun. Avoid!