Oooohh!! So…. if you are as silly for horror movies as this girl is, then what’s better for a goofy evening’s entertainment on the couch than a Zombie movie? Hmmmm? How about an honest to goodness Nazi Zombie movie…. ON ICE!!
Well… not exactly ice…. but lots and lots of snow. After “Fritt Vilt” and it’s sequel I’m beginning to get a very chilly picture of Norway and this one, “Dead Snow”, now available on Region 2 PAL DVD from the UK gives me no reason to believe it’s ever warm there…. Hehehehe!! What’s next? Killer Snowmen or a cool movie with a rampaging rabid Polar Bear? (Wait a minute…. that actually sounds like a cool idea for a movie….. So remember you heard it here first!!)
Our quickie synopsis reads: “A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies!”
That sums it up pretty well… and so all the classic bits are comfortably in place for some bloody, crazy nazisploitation zombie mayhem. Your Favorite Catgirl Princess says it’s time to break out your chainsaw, your machete, and all your other favorite pointy implements of death and let’s get ready to rumble, shall we?
So… first up, I’m happy to say that unlike my last UK DVD release of a Norwegian film, “Fritt Vilt 2”, this one actually has nice separate English subtitles on board for me to enjoy….. I can’t tell you just how much having burned in subtitles on a DVD reeeeaallly ticks me off…. so if any of you out there reading this are DVD producers or distributors, please… cut that out!!!
Our film starts out promisingly…. it’s night, and a frantic woman flees through the rough terrain of the frozen mountains with flashes of her pursuers seen here and there. She runs…. she stumbles…. she even falls down a rocky slope bouncing off every rock and tree possible, but you just know how it’s gonna end…. Yep. Zombie food. But you don’t get to see the particulars of that…. our film plays a bit coy about getting right down to things.
We jump to a couple of cars zooming along those endless deserted snowy roads that seem to be all over the place in Norway in these movies going…. well…. nowhere it seems. Inside are a group of medical students off to the mountains for their Easter Holiday. It seems one of them has…. (or by now you know “had a girlfriend” is more accurate) a girlfriend who has a cabin waaaay up in the mountains where they can kick back and party like there’s no tomorrow. They discuss each other…. the guys in one car and the girls in the other…. and it’s here that you get a strange odor about the film… and it’s not from the Nazi Zombies…. Nope…. problem is, unlike the group in “Fritt Vilt”, the protagonists here are just not very appealing. In fact they are all the self absorbed, nasty sort of 20 somethings that just make this lil’ Catgirl cringe. Sometimes that’s OK… it makes it easier when the carnage starts to enjoy the demise of the more annoying characters while rooting for the rest to somehow survive. Unfortunately… nobody invited the sympathetic characters along for this movie….. Instead we get our intrepid snowmobiling stud, Vegard (played by Lasse Valdal), and his fairly unremarkable friends. There’s forgettable blonde bimbo Hanna (Charlotte Frogner), Roy (Stig Frode Henriksen), no nonsense Liv (Evy Kasseth Røsten), squeamish bloodshy Martin (Vegar Hoel), slutty Chris (Jenny Skavlan) and film trivia fanatic Erlend (Jeppe Laursen). You’ll be amazed just how quickly you’ll start wanting the zombie to just show up and kill them all. But you’ll have a loooong wait.
Yep… outside of having already killed Sarah, Vegard’s girlfriend who insisted upon skiing in to the cabin rather than riding up with her friends, we don’t get a Zombie for nearly 45 minutes of the movie. SAY WHAT??? We do get a creepy guy ( played by Bjørn Sundquist) who shows up to bitch at them about their coffee brewing skills and to tell the kids the story of the horrible atrocities committed by the Nazi soldiers that occupied the area back during the war and who ultimately escaped into these very mountains ahead of the angry populace only to presumably disappear and die somewhere in the mountains around these parts. Ominous creepy guy then departs…. and promptly becomes the first victim of the Zombies out in his lonely tent…. Who this guy is and what the heck he’s doing up in the mountains is never really explained, he’s apparently just hanging around to relate the “legend” so we can get on with things.
Next it’s loud annoying music and lots of drinking and Twister… (yes… Twister!!) before Erland goes out to the outhouse to relieve himself. Naturally that’s the perfect excuse for Chris to go into slut mode and follow him out for some sex…. and we all know that’s just gonna summon some Zombies to come eat somebody….. and it does. YAY!!! Bye- Bye, Chris!!
Erland, meanwhile, has gone back to the cabin where he finds the box hidden in the cold storage space under the floor…. and it’s filled with all sorts of shiny gold stuff…. obviously the loot taken by those evil Nazi bastards back during the war. Supposedly… this is what gets the Zombie Nazi’s all ticked off… (but it really doesn’t explain why they killed all the other people earlier….) and they’ll wipe out anyone trying to steal the goodies. After ogling the gold for a while they finally notice Chris is missing and decide to stumble about outside looking for her… armed with a shotgun and absolutely no common sense that is…. They don’t find her, but they do find Sarah’s backpack…. evidence she had reached the cabin after all.
Yoo-hoo!! Zombies!! That’s your cue… Yep, finally the zombie Nazis get around to attacking the cabin. You know the drill…. lots of frantic scrambling around doing the barricading thing while trying to avoid those zombies grabbing at you through smashed in windows. Erland gets his here… pulled out a window and his head torn open so his brain can splat on the floor in a cool gory bit just designed to gross you out in a neat way. You can’t say they skimped on the makeup and practical effects here….. these are top notch.
Surviving the night, the guys and girls decide to split up…. the guys acting as bait to draw the Zombies after them and giving the girls the chance to make a dash through the woods to find the car and get help. (Note to self…. never leave your car 45 minutes away from the place you are staying when venturing out into the wilderness…. especially if you are going to let the only idiot who knows the way back to it run off to find his lost girlfriend…..) Yes…. Vegerd takes the snow mobile and goes off on a quest to find Sarah…. that’s just not gonna go well….
Hanna and Liv get lost… of course… and soon Liv is all alone, Hanna having blown herself to bits along with the two zombie stormtroopers that were eating her alive. Martin and Roy manage to burn down the cabin and have to resort to some pretty brutal hand to hand with the zombies just barely holding their own….. Only Vegerd has much luck, if you can call it that, when he stumbles upon the snowcave where the Nazi’s hid all their equipment… and Sarah’s severed head. Eeeewwwhhh!!
You’d think that after getting into his own knock down, drag out, fight to the death with the zombies there that he would load up the snowmobile with every MP-40, panzerfaust, and potato masher grenade he could carry and we’d get a neat climax of WW2 Zombie combat action for our ending…. (Sort of a grisly “Slaying Private Hans”) You’d think that…. and for goodness sake, we zombie fans sure like it when things go boom and bits of zombie go flying about the snowscape like crimson confetti… but nope. Vegerd ain’t gonna do something THAT cool. Darn…. He does strap a belt fed M-42 machine gun to the sled before sewing up his half severed throat with a fish hook and some duct tape… so I’ll forgive him that much….
Anyway…. he arrives back in time to help the remaining survivors lay waste to what looks like the final Nazi attack before getting killed by the leader of the horde, Oberst Hertzog… the coolest Zombie of the bunch. Seemingly defeated, Hertzog raises his arms to the sky and screams an order that raises still more Nazi Undead from everywhere…. Will our heroes survive? Don’t make this lil’ Catgirl laugh……
So…. all in all, did I enjoy this latest Norwegian horror romp? Hmmmm? Well…. it did have some real potential, but unfortunately in the end “Dead Snow” just sort of fails to live up to that promise. The protagonists didn’t catch my sympathy…. I was annoyed by the lack of any explanation as to why the Nazi’s became zombies…. (No radioactive isotopes from Telemark… no experimental germ warfare or poison gas canisters…. not even some reeeaally lost Haitian Voodoo guy…) and a perfect missed opportunity to see what sort of fun can be had with a stockpile of WW2 surplus ordinance. Also…. if your movie is only 88 minutes long in the first place…. don’t wait 45 minutes before getting the zombies into action……. Sigh…. and I was so hoping for something to top the only other Nazi Zombie film I know of… 1977’s “Shock Waves”…. Oh well. I hear “Zombie Self Defense Force” is coming out next month…. maybe the Japanese know how to have army guys fight zombies….
Neko gives “Dead Snow” an anemic 2 “Meows” out of 5 for trying like heck, but ultimately blowing it just when I needed some seriously fun and messy zombie action. Norway tried to pull it off but I guess it’s just not their thing…..
Yep…. there’ a Trailer, and here it is!! Enjoy!!