Review: DEAD SNOW (2009) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Review: DEAD SNOW (2009)

RATING 3.5/5

In Hollywood, zombie genre had been milked dry and not even the master, George A. Romero himself, can save the day, judging from his lackluster back-to-back directing efforts in 2005's LAND OF THE DEAD and 2008's DIARY OF THE DEAD. But not so for an unexpected foreign country like Norway, which manages to keep this done-to-death genre with a refreshing tweak. How refreshing can it be? Well, check this out: a killer premise centers on a troop of Nazi zombies in a snowy mountain! And how come Hollywood never thought of that before? No doubt the basic premise itself for DEAD SNOW sounds exciting enough to keep horror fans in check.

The plot, however, is standard zombie stuff: A group of friends -- eight medical students, to be exact -- are heading out to the snowy mountainside of Oksfjord for a winter vacation. They are included the level-headed Hanna (Charlotte Frogner) and his boyfriend, Martin (Vegar Hoel) who is somehow afraid of blood; the bespectacled Roy (Stig Frode Henriksen, also one of the film's screenwriters); the movie-geek Erlend (Jeppe Laursen), the blonde-haired Vegard (Lasse Valdal) who is responsible for the trip; the blondie Liv (Evy Kasseth Rosten) and the flirty Chris (Jenny Skavlan). Once they arrive to their destination, they stay at a cabin owned by Vegard's girlfriend, Sara (Ane Dahl Torp), who has been here earlier but have gone on the other side of the mountain. And so, they begin to enjoy themselves, playing games and boozing at each other. Then that night they have a surprise visit by an old wanderer (Bjorn Sundquist) who passes by, demands for a cup of coffee. He begins to tell them a story about this particular place in Oksfjord. Apparently, 60 years ago, the place is used to be a place occupied by the Nazis in the German occupation of Norway during World War II. Led by Colonel Herzog (Orjan Garnst), these Nazis are responsible for raped and murdered the locals and stole all their gold, until one day the locals gathered up to chase them up to the mountains, where they are supposedly froze to death. Despite the old wanderer's warning, they treat it as a joke and go on with their fun. Of course, it doesn't take long before everything comes clear -- they find a box of gold hidden under the floor, which had belonged to the Nazis. And little they know is that the Nazi zombies has come back from their dead to reclaim their gold, at all means necessary. 

Despite the refreshing novelty of the premise, writer-director Tommy Wirkola actually doesn't break any new ground we have already seen in countless zombie genre. But what makes this movie a cut above is how enthusiastic he has dedicated to craft an all-out zombie picture that nevertheless satisfy the gorehounds and horror fans alike. While the first half hour reserved for the characters development is rather cliched, it was the second half where the movie really comes alive. Wirkola has certainly never shy away when comes to pushing the limit of excessive gore and violence here -- and that alone, this film absolutely delivers. You name it: there are plenty of body organs on display, including a couple of impressive intestine tracks, while the all-hell-breaks-loose zombie-killing spree is ranging from chainsaw, hammer, hatchet to snowmobile. Not to forget also, the zombie make-up is top-notch, and credit goes to the technical team for choosing practical effects over CGI for better result. 

A bit pity is how Wirkola actually determines to make this movie a horror comedy in the vein of EVIL DEAD-style, but too bad most of the wicked sense of humor only worth a few chuckles. 

Despite the movie's few setbacks, DEAD SNOW remains a horror fan's wet dream and no doubt one of the best horror movies of the year.

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