Dead Snow (2009)
Starring: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Rosten, Jeppe Beck Laursen, Jenny Skavlan
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Tagline: Ein! Zwie! Die!
Running time: 91 Minutes
Quick summary (from IMDB): A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies.
Dead Snow was one of those movies I kept coming across on Netflix and telling myself I had to see. I mean, Nazi Zombies! How could I not watch that? But like so many other movies, I kept putting it off either because I wasn’t in the mood for horror or zombies or because I didn’t want to spend 90 minutes reading a movie. But with only three days left in Halloween Horror Movie Month, my wife and I decided it was now or never for Dead Snow and gave it a shot. On the plus side were the generally positive reviews (nearly a full five stars on Netflix) and a glowing endorsement from my brother and at worst, it would be a gory, campy horror movie. It was win-win.
Zombies by themselves are pretty terrifying, but adding in the fact that these were Nazi zombies makes them even worse. In addition to rising from the dead with a hunger for human flesh, these zombies are also racist a-holes. Horror movie zombies are normally regular people who died and came back, with the zombification pretty much wiping out whatever person they were beforehand, but not even becoming zombies can negate the fact that these dudes were Nazis first.
Unlike most other zombie movies, Tommy Wirkola’s Nazi zombies aren’t the product of a virus or a plague, but rather a curse placed upon them by the Norwegian people of the village they were occupying. Because of the curse, these zombies are much more driven than their virus-infected counterparts in The Living Dead movies. These Nazis are out for revenge, not to mention their stolen gold, and (probably) a desire to continue their original horrible mission. And they were soldiers, are organized and have helmets on, making killing them all the more difficult.
I really enjoy watching foreign horror movies when you can see the clear influence of classic American horror movies. Not only do the characters talk about Friday the 13th and The Evil Dead series, but they also copy a couple of those movies trademarks, namely Ash and his chainsaw from Evil Dead and zombies emerging from the water a la Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th. It shows that the Tommy Wirkola is truly a fan of the genre and loves the movies and was inspired by them to make his own horror comedy.
And Dead Snow is a funny movie. How can a movie about Nazi zombies not be at least a little bit funny? But more than being funny, Dead Snow was actually a pretty effective horror movie too. The scene with the hiker outside of his tent was especially effective. We really only see the hiker and his flashlight as he searches the snowy darkness for the source of the noise. We don’t really ever see the zombie attack him until it’s too late. In fact, we don’t really get a good look a zombie for a good thirty or forty minutes, which only heightens the suspense and makes the zombies that much more terrifying.
Just a few months ago, Wirkola and Co. released Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, and I really want to see that now that I’ve finally seen the first movie.
4.5 out of 5 stars