Dead Snow (Død Snø) (2009) – Tommy Wirkola

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I can definitively say that this is, by far, the  best terrible Norwegian Nazi-zombie movie I’ve ever seen. Oh, that statement leaves you with more questions than answers? OK. Sorry, I’ll explain. From any logical, structural or cinematic standpoint this movie is awful. I mean it. It’s really bad. Its so bad that I actually want to hate it. But I can’t. Despite its many flaws, this movie is awesome. It even leaves me wondering if it was made intentionally shitty as part of its charm. Director Tommy Wirkola is definitely  a little self-aware in this one and there are elements of tribute to some classic horror films. This makes me think that the faulty construction of this movie is on purpose and that’s part of why I loved it.

Lets start off with why it’s bad. The script is atrocious. These characters say and do things that are utterly ridiculous and unbelievable (and yes, I realize I’m using the words ridiculous and unbelievable to describe the faults with a movie about undead Nazis). There are serious continuity issues as well. In one shot, a character has a little  blood splashed on his face, then in the next shot he is completely soaked and dripping red, and then in the next shot, its back to a splatter or two. And a couple of times we’ll see bodies showing up in a shot when there were no bodies a second ago. And the editing is just a mess. There are times when we see characters showing up in different places than they just were in previous scenes with no explanation as to how they got there. These are the things you take for granted and don’t notice when they’re done right but when they’re wrong, it’s obvious. They’re like the offensive line of cinema.

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As I said, I’m not entirely sure if these flaws are actually intentional. But as you progress through the movie, and the rules of logic really start to unravel, it seems more and more likely that this is all part of the fun.

So the plot follows a group of Med school students out to a cabin for a ski-weekend. Of course, they are up in the mountains and they get no cell phone reception. In one of those self-aware/meta-film moments, they even comment on their situation being a perfect set up for a horror movie. Their fun gets interrupted almost immediately by a creepy but prophetic old man who tells the friends a story about a battalion of German soldiers who occupied this part of Norway during World War II. Supposedly these soldiers disappeared into the woods at the end of the war and that they still walk through the trees at night, preying on anyone foolish enough to go out there. So of course, they don’t believe him and they continue to commit horror-movie-no-nos – the best of wich is, when one dude goes out into the outhouse to take care of business, one of the girls goes out there, sits on his lap, while he’s sitting on the toilet, and fucks him. (Real classy, lady. Who raised you?)

Anyway, a bunch of Nazi zombies show up and start ripping peoples heads and arms and legs off and eating them. And their intestines. The people who made this movie were obsessed with intestines. They are literally all over the place- flying across the screen. I’ve always said, when it comes to intestines, less is more. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.  So as the survival rate begins to drop, the campers find ways to arm themselves and fight back against the horde of anti-Semitic undead monsters. We’ll soon find out that if the campers had paid attention to the old man at the beginning, they might have had a much more pleasant weekend.

Tommy Wirkola’s take on zombies is actually an interesting one though. These guys aren’t the mindless drones you’d expect to see in a zombie movie. Though they can’t really talk, and they clearly look dead and decomposed, they don’t really act much differently than they would have while they were living. They seem to have some reasoning power, they use weapons, and there is even a zombie chain of command. The general issues orders to his troops with a series of grunts, nods and gestures, all while breathing deep and sexy like Darth Vader. The one thing I didn’t like about the zombies was that they did a lot of punching when they should have been using the classic throat-bite. I’ve never really seen zombies punch before; It didn’t sit well with me.

At any rate, the point is, whether these flaws were intentional or not, I don’t care. This movie was really a lot of fun to watch. It didn’t really make a lot of sense logically or structurally, but neither does trying to apply logic to a movie about Nazi-zombies. This movie is great. I don’t know that it fully achieved everything that it set out to, but it doesn’t matter. It was tons of fun to watch. Also, I should mention that about 15 minutes into this movie I really said to myself “Somebody in this movie is gonna get his dick bitten off by a zombie.” And, spoiler alert, I was right. I don’t think it will fare too well on my scale here because it’s not really that scary, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from seeing it.

  1. Is it scary: 3- There are some creepy moments but overall, this isn’t intended to be ‘scary’.
  2. Originality: 6- I’m definitely giving some points for the twist on the classic zombie, but again, this was intended to be a tribute of sorts rather than something new.
  3. Blood: 8- Jackpot. This thing is bloody and gory as hell- as it should be.  And in case you were worried, you’ll be able to have a discussion with your friends about which was your favorite method of zombie dispatchment, the chainsaw, or the snowmobile treads.
  4. Believability: 3- Um. Nazi-zombies. Do you really need me to explain this one?
  5. Setting/Cinematography: 5- In terms of actual scariness, the setting isn’t doing it for me. Most of the movie taks place during the daytime and out in the bright sun. There are a few interesting camera shots but nothing that really blew me away.

Final Score: 25/50

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