Dead Snow Review
Written by: Tim Hannigan
The Toronto After Dark Film Festival is overflowing with gruesome goodness this year and Sunday night’s Zombie Night featured one of the bloodiest zombie films in recent years – “Dead Snow”.
The nasty Norwegian horror/comedy starts with an all-too-familiar premise, throws in some snow and a horde of undead Nazis, and creates a movie where the audience is laughing one minute, and gagging from the gruesome gore the next!
A bunch of students go to a cabin in the woods on vacation, out of cell phone range, and a lengthy hike from their vehicles. A mysterious stranger arrives at the door in the middle of the night and tells them a story about Nazis occupying the local town who stole riches from the locals before taking off into the mountains near the end of the war in Europe. After the stranger leaves, the “spoilt brats” find an old box in the cabin which contains the Necronomicon – oh sorry, wrong movie – this box contains gold and silver which was stolen by the Nazis. After a few beers, a game of twister, and an intimate encounter in an outhouse, the students start dying in increasingly more disgusting ways until the remaining students fight back with a chainsaw, sledge hammer, and a snowmobile mounted machine gun.
Yes the students at a remote cabin discovering something creepy has been done before. This movie does not hide from this fact, and does not pretend that they have some original premise. One of the characters in the film is a horror movie buff (proudly wearing a “Braindead” t-shirt), who talks at length about various films involving students at a cabin, referencing various North American films, including “Evil Dead & Evil Dead 2”. There are also intentional references to those films, particularly when the students weapon-up in the tool shed. The film is clearly influenced by the “Evil Dead” films as well as Peter Jackson’s “Braindead” (aka “Dead/Alive”) and is every bit as entertaining as the films that inspired it.
The setting of the movie is phenomenal. The snow creates a very distinct sense of isolation. Freezing temperatures outside, a path to the cars covered by snow, and the threat of avalanches are the perfect hostile environment for this kind of film. In many films, horror happens in the dark. In this film, some of its most amazing scenes unfold in the brilliant light of day, with mountains and snow creating fantastic visuals.
The characters are fairly standard. The characters are all medical students, and we don’t get to learn a lot about them before they are dispatched by the undead. There is no clear main character, which adds to the tension of the film as anyone is fair game. One character is afraid of blood (a big problem for a medical student) but learns to embrace the red stuff when taking on a few hundred zombies.
The heart of the film (or should I say the guts of the film) is in the gore. The film is bloody as hell with hundreds of flying appendages, buckets of blood, and plenty of disembowelings! And if you think you’ve seen it all before you most definitely have not! Sure most zombie movies show lots of intestines. Most, however, do not use them to climb up a cliff! And yes, people have contemplated hacking off an arm after being bitten in the arm or leg, but what if they are bitten in more sensitive parts of the body? And if you are bitten – do you become a zombie, a Nazi, or both?
Splatter, comedy, zombies, chainsaws and mountain climbing with intestines – what the hell else could you want from a film?????