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Review: Dead Snow (2009)

April 20th, 2010

The movie is in German with English subtitles.

Not every movie is made to be great.  In fact, I’d say it’s not hard to argue that most zombie genre movies are not meant for greatness.  Dead Snow, or Død Snø if you want to be German about it, is just that type of movie.

It’s weird to see this kind of flick come to America from the foreign ranks.  Although you do see camp show up occasionally — think the awesome Shaolin Soccer or last year’s Bollywood kung fu comedy Chandni Chowk to China — it’s rare to really see a campy horror in subtitles.

The plot here is surprisingly easy to follow and having to watch the subtitles wasn’t actually that tough, even for a horror movie.  Basically, you have seven medical student friends who arrive in a remote, Norwegian (or at least I think it’s Norway) locale, where they expect to meet one’s girlfriend, who owns a cabin in the mountains.  They hike nearly an hour from the road to reach the rustic cabin.

When the girlfriend doesn’t arrive, they start to worry; tension is added by the visit of a local camper who warns of evil in the mountains which is descended from a Nazi crew that raped the land and eventually froze in the mountain cold.  When the boyfriend heads off to find his girl, the zombie fun kicks off in full.

Click on through to read some more.

This is a movie that is not going to win any awards, and really isn’t even going to win too many hearts.  The story itself is kind of cool.  There are a few Shawn of the Dead-type moments with whacking the Nazi zombies (which actually hearkens back to a Call of Duty cheat code that allows you to defend a house against swarms of Nazi zombies).  But the camp can only go so far.  Only once did I actually laugh (when a head gets decapitated and drop kicked in one fell motion), though not much of the violence was really bad enough to cringe… or at least relative to most zombie flicks.

Don't they know that "sexy-time" is not a good thing in horror movies?

The characters themselves are a little tough to relate to because a) they’re speaking German and b) they’re not terribly realistic.  You’ve got the one surgeon in training who can’t stand blood; his girlfriend who somehow sports dreadlocks despite being a med student; her cousin who is a raving, but hot, whore; and the fat, movie nerd who somehow lands the hot chick.  And you can’t really root for the zombies because… well… they’re Nazis.

The driving force is stolen from the old Leprechaun series: the Nazi’s stole gold.  Someone found that gold and brought it to the cabin.  Now the Nazi’s are intent on getting the gold back.  It’s been played before, though most zombie flicks don’t make much more of a plot effort than a decent porn studio does, so I guess we should be thankful for what we have.

The movie does benefit from not waiting too long to get to some action, though the violence really doesn’t pick up until about thirty minutes in when, well, in true Friday the 13th form, the youths to be killed get it on.  Don’t you know you’re not supposed to do that?

In any respect, I can’t right well recommend Dead Snow.  If you’re a zombie fanatic, you’ll maybe want to watch it, but in general if you want to see some Nazi’s get smoked, go for Inglourious Basterds
. I really just don’t know how this became a Sundance hit.

These zombies didn't play nice with the Max Brooks rules of freezing, per World War Z.


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