Dead Snow movie poster

Written by: Stig Frode Henriksen & Tommy Wirkola
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Lasse Valdal, Charlotte Frogner, Bjørn Sundquist

My Advice: Matinee for the genre fiends.

It’s a tale as old as the genre: young people just out for a good time stumble upon indescribable evil, and bad shit rains down upon them with extreme prejudice. In this case, though, a fun-in-the-snow vacation on a remote mountainside turns into a double dose of the evil, considering it’s not just zombies…but Nazi zombies.

You know, I could expound upon the plot some more in that first paragraph, but really, those two words–Nazi zombies–tell you pretty much everything you need to know. And the trailer does a good job of setting up the film’s sensibility: it’s a nice zombie confection with a smirking swirl. And the end result is basically a love letter to Sam Raimi’s first two Evil Dead films, with homages and shots taken directly from them. And despite the snippets of comedy seeming out of place, what’s in the right place is Wirkola’s heart, so it’s easier to forgive. Hard to say what might have fixed it, since this sort of material couldn’t stand up to a 100% straight-faced treatment.

Another thing that’s not perfect–unlike the Nazi uniforms, although where did they get the pristine white camo hoodies?–is the whole reasoning for what the undead Nazi horde is after. If you stop to think about it, it just won’t make any sense. But luckily there’s enough novelty in the dispatching of both the dead and the living to distract you from any such problems. That and it’s a film that knows how to properly use its setting–as the dead of night with snow falling and only a flashlight for illumination is pretty goddamn creepy. Also: liberal usage of intestines.

For the acting, the ensemble of the living does fairly well. Standouts are Charlotte Frogner, Vegar Hoel, and especially Sundquist, who performs his task of being That Creepy Old Guy Who Knows Things quite well.

If you found yourself giddy at the notion of Nazi zombies, then I think you won’t be let down by the film. Does it break new ground in the zombie sub-genre? Not really. But it wasn’t really meant to, I don’t think. It’s a fun horror romp that’s good for the fans as a matinee, and will have a glorious life on home video.