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Early Review of Nazi Zombies in DEAD SNOW blow in from the chilly Nordic side of the world!

Hey folks, Harry here... Apparently they just screened DEAD SNOW, the Norwegian Nazi Zombie flick that's set to premiere at Sundance - and we nabbed a review. It seems to be mostly positive and I think at a midnight screening at Sundance, it'll play a whole lot better than it did there... often genre exploitation plays very strong outside of its native country where the acting and line delivery isn't that remarkable, but to those of us without an ear for the native tongue... feels good to us, what the fuck do we know? Right? Anyway, here ya go...

Hey Harry! I just got back from a preview screening of Dead Snow here in Norway, and I've noticed you guys seem to be looking forward to it, so I thought I'd chime in with a review. The Norwegian film industry has gone through a sort of horror-boom the last few years. It started with Villmark (Dark Woods) five years back, and then we got three more horror movies about groups of people getting killed off in the Norwegian wilderness. (Yes, i refer to four movies in as many years as a «boom», it's a small country, okay? Don't mock.) They were all basically the same, Fritt Vilt (Cold Prey) and its recent domestic smash hit sequel were about snowboarders getting picked off by an abominable hook man (well he didn't actually use a hook, but you get the point) and the lower budgeted Rovdyr (Backwoods aka Manhunt) featured a group of hillbilly hunters picking off the annoying people. And here we go again with a group of people going on a vacation out into the remote snowy wilderness only to wind up dead. The difference this time is: there are nazi zombies. Nazis! That are zombies! That do a lot of punching and running around. And the whole thing is a lot less serious than the previous slasher flicks. Well, the first half kind of pretends to be a serious horror movie, passing through all the familiar tropes: a group of twenty-somethings drive out to a remote mountain cabin to drink beer and have sex. They hear strange noises, they make out, they get a sudden unexpected visit from a creepy local man looking for a cup of coffee and he starts the obligatory eerie storytelling session about local history and how they should be careful. It's all very familiar, very reference-y and strangely serious in tone, although with jokes. They don't play it as an all out parody, but they're obviously very aware of similar movies, and they use that awareness to reference and poke fun, but it's played serious and there's nothing new there. You've seen it all before. I wish they had used that knowledge to do something new with those tropes, but rather they try to build the tension through them just like every other such movie, and it didn't work for me. This might throw some casual viewers off, because when the zombie carnage really gets underway they push it pretty far into the goofy territory. Soon tension goes out the window and you find yourself wondering «Hey! Where the fuck did he get that gatling gun?!», and I guess whether or not you like the film depends on whether you ask that question frowningly or with a big shit-eating grin on your face. It better be the latter, 'cause you won't get an answer. I've always loved movies where the answer to logical questions is «just 'cause it's awesome!». I wouldn't say I downright love this film, though. I like it. It's fun, but it takes a while before it gets to the really fun parts, and the serious, tense parts of it didn't hit me the way I'd hoped. There are some good menacing scenes, like one of the characters being buried alive in a sort of avalanche and a point of view shot of someone waking up to a couple of nazi zombies rifling through his/her intestines, but it's the carnage that's most fun. The effects look good, I liked the zombie make-up, and stretched intestines play a key part in at least three scenes, so there's plenty of blood and guts for the gorehounds to relish. I should also mention that the characters are kind of bland. Some of the characters I can't remember a single distinguishing fact about, and that's probably part of the reason why the tension didn't work for me. I didn't care enough. In general the flick has some issues with the balancing act. One of the guys I saw it with was put off by the goofy gore of the latter half, he thought it felt out of place and ruined the tension, whereas I didn't think they pulled off the tense parts sufficiently so I rejoiced when they stopped trying and just went all out with groovy Evil Dead 2 referencing. They even managed to do some gory stuff I don't think I've seen before, and I appreciate that. It's always fun when a zombie movie pulls off something new, because let's face it, we had zombies fighting sharks under water back in '79, this genre has been so saturated with crazy ideas that it's quite a feat to come up with something new. And while this one is all too caught up in references to really go into unexplored territory there were some good moments that were new to me, like someone sewing up their own pulsating neck wound with a fish hook and duct tape, or hanging off a cliff holding on to a nazi zombie's intestines or simply biting back. If that sounds like fun to you, you'll probably like Dead Snow, but beware of bland characters and potentially maddening tonal shifts. -Isopor
Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:35 a.m. CST

    It's a horror film...

    by Life_is_Fatal

    with Nazi zombies, gore, and the potentially bad acting is masked by a language I can't comprehend? The preview looked fun, count me in.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Just make a Castle Wolfenstein movie...

    by milla jovovich

    that would be awesome.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Also...

    by Life_is_Fatal

    Kiss my ass all you first fuckers.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:46 a.m. CST

    I'd watch it..

    by nolan bautista

    zombies uber ulles

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:50 a.m. CST

    it would cool..

    by nolan bautista

    ..to have Hitler running around as a zombie or some Nazis we know from history (Hess,Mengele,etc.)

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:52 a.m. CST

    and Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu!!!!!

    by Groothewarrior

    it could happen.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 1:01 a.m. CST

    Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu..

    by nolan bautista

    ..Hmm..lets see..hmmm..you're right Grooth..not only could it happen..it should happen

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Playing with 'Treevenge'

    by donwithnoname

    ...Which is the new short film from Jason Eisener who directed 'Hobo with a Shotgun'...

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 1:14 a.m. CST

    SOLD!

    by Xiphos_2

    You had me at Zombie Nazis. If there are some Viking juggs on display, they done iced that cake.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 1:27 a.m. CST

    I MADE A HORROR FILM...

    by VALENTINEproductions

    WATCH IT HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VfmgDbrCtc Thanks.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 2:14 a.m. CST

    Fulci's Zombie

    by Dark Knight Lite

    Zombie vs. Shark: greatest EVER.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 2:46 a.m. CST

    Dear Paramount and Michael Mann

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Please release The Keep on DVD. Thank you.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 2:53 a.m. CST

    VALENTINEproductions

    by BadMrWonka

    for those who don't want to visit the spam, let me save you some time and sum up the film:<p>Typical film school short film where nothing happens, car breaks down, some walking, really long establishing shots to fill time, a bright cemetery, a squirt gun (seriously, we can see the plastic squirt trigger!), a mirror shot, blood disappears, was it all in his mind? more walking, bad makeup, more walking, someone disappears, was it all in his mind? 1 minute of credits for a 9 minute film...<p>in other words, the same as EVERY crappy student short "horror" film you've ever seen. seriously, EVERY one is exactly the same.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 3:12 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the warning MrBadWonka!....

    by quantize

    'was it all in his mind, is it a dream' #1 student horror film cliche!

  • I'm sure that cabinet is pretty full.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 3:18 a.m. CST

    wtf is wrong with horror these days? I mean..WTF??!!

    by Mike_D

    I'm seriously pissed off. I can handle remakes. But...ANOTHER fucking zombie film?! "Oh its different this time, cause they are in a cabin in the snowy mountains this time and the undead used to be nazis!" Stop with the japanese cliche' long-black-haired-goul-girl scares. Stop with the "lets grab a chainsaw and hack at the monsters while trying to be funny" formula. Just...stop. Please.

  • in the audiences. Just a reminder.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 3:31 a.m. CST

    Fuck the Zombie genre

    by WWBD

    Seriously! 1 out of every 20 entries is decent, but there's never been a great one!

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Never been a great zombie movie?

    by milla jovovich

    Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Zombie, Dead Alive, Shaun Of The Dead, Cemetery Man, Dawn Of The Dead remake, The Beyond, Serpent And The Rainbow, Re-Animator. Just off the top of my head.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 3:53 a.m. CST

    smooth anmeldelse

    by Epleterte

    var egentlig bare det...

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 4:37 a.m. CST

    Want original cool horror films?

    by sonnyfern

    Low-budget independant filmmaking at its FINEST. No zombie, bullshit remakes or goddamn cliches around here. People who are complaining about the state of horror...check 'em out- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= jfMI7EsynWg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 7fRQ-YJuJQA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= OwCrZ4kIoEo&

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 4:41 a.m. CST

    WWBD you're a fucking idiot

    by Lost Jarv

    THere's been plenty of classic Zombie films. Tool. <P>This should be gold. Zombie snow Nazis is unfuckupable

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 6:12 a.m. CST

    Look, just stop stealing gold from the Nazis

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    and the zombies, or monster, or whatever else may be out there will leave you alone. When will people learn. They're just like bees. Don't bother them, and they won't bother you.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 6:28 a.m. CST

    why

    by brassai2003

    do nazis that have been dead for 60 years have intestines? Pass.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 6:47 a.m. CST

    Hitler can't be a zombie

    by I Dunno

    He shot himself in the head. That precludes him becoming a zombie. And if you're going to make a Nazi zombie movie, it had better be historically accurate.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 7:02 a.m. CST

    Wannabe hollywood

    by alb55

    Alle i Norge vil være som toffe Hollywood ! All people in Norway want's to be like badass hollywood and I'm sick of it because then the budget for movies get shitted on rather than making a good movie with heart

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 7:26 a.m. CST

    I will definitely check this out on video

    by just pillow talk

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 7:41 a.m. CST

    I Dunno..

    by nolan bautista

    ..you're right..i dont know how overlooked that..alright then..Eva Braun,perhaps?

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 8:48 a.m. CST

    NAZI ZOMBIES! I AM THERE.

    by JustyHakubi

    All it needs is some big-breasted Viking women with battle-axes and tigers and that movie is up for an Oscar nomination.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 9:23 a.m. CST

    After some reflection...

    by Coma Baby

    I've decided my hatred of Nazis outweighs my love of zombies - I'm going to have to root for the Norwegians in this one. Speaking of Nazis, I'm also a sucker for people sticking it to Nazi mad scientists that create robotic super-apes and fire V1 rockets stuffed with vampire plagues so how about a Hellboy spinoff Lobster Johnson movie produced by Guillermo Del Toro!

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Shock Waves

    by BGDAWES

    How come nobody has mentioned Shock Waves? That movie had Nazi Zombies and it IS WAS AND ALWAYS SHALL BE A-W-E-S-O-M-E. <br> <br> Seriously, it's a cheesey movie from the 70's but it's great in a way I can't explain. <br> Rent it, watch it, don't thank me - just pay it forward.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Shock Waves

    by Coma Baby

    sounds awesome. Netflix doesn't have it, but my local video store has nearly anything ever put out on a crappy vhs tape. This weekend I'm renting it. No one stand in my way.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST

    What do you do when you can't have Nazi's in Indiana Jones?

    by finky089

    bring them back as C-movie zombies! <p> Actually, I liek that idea.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Shock Waves...??

    by skimn

    Does that feature one of the last roles for the great Peter Cushing??

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Comedy gore

    by skimn

    Hard to beat Dead Alive (ED2 goes without saying).

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST

    I really want to see this.

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    "Shock Waves" is indeed the best Nazi zombie ever made, but don't expect much gore because it's rated PG. The scenes of the zombies rising up from the water are worth the price of a rental. And, yes skimn, Peter Cushing is in it. Anyway, "Dead Snow" is likely going to be one of the last zombie movies to get any attention in this current cycle. Monster trends run in cycles, and zombies have had quite a resurgence in popularity over the last five years. Vampires had their run in the 80s and appear to be ready to make a comeback.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    For more nazi zombies, check out

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    Jean Rollin's "Zombie Lake" and Jess Franco's "Oasis of the Zombies." Or don't. Both films are pretty terrible snoozers.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Crossing my fingers that Benecio's Wolfman

    by skimn

    fills that "monster" need. I understand Fox is working on a werewolf series, which is funny considering one of their first series on air was werewolf based.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:02 p.m. CST

    George Romero's "Of the Dead" trailer!!!!!!!

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    Holy smokes. We're sitting here chatting about a Norwegian zombie film when a trailer from the grandmaster of all things zombie, George Romero, has a new indy zombie film coming out--and there's a trailer we can watch RIGHT NOW! It's called "of the Dead" and you can find it at Voltage Pictures at http://voltagepictures.com/TrailerPage.php?title=George A Romero's Of The Dead&file=ofthedead1.mov&w=640&h=368 It looks beautiful!

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Uh, shouldn't there be an 's' after "review"?

    by Rickey Henderson

    Come on now Harry, at least proof read your posts fella.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:11 p.m. CST

    I never thought I'd get tired of zombies...

    by The_joker

    Which is sad since I just started a webcomic about them.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Where's all the new COOL genre news?

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    I mean, I don't mind fishing from other sites, but I'm a longtime AICN reader and I want Harry's site to be the place to go for everything a geek wants to know. I don't care if somebody else ran the story first. I mean, in the last couple of days Rob Zombie released early pics of Wayne Toth's work on the new Michael Myers mask from "H2," "Jonah Hex" has a new director in Jimmy Hayward, George Romero's "Of the Dead" has a trailer online and I found out from a Talkbacker that there is a completed Robert E. Howard adaptation of my favorite character "Solomon Kane" staring James Purefoy out there that nobody has written a word about! These are fairly exciting geek stories waiting to be exploited in a general slow movie news time of year. Now it's well known that I like Mr. Knowles quite a bit. He's an original, a true film fan and a good guy. This is just constructive criticism. I miss Mori, and I miss this being the place to go to hear about all that kind of stuff. I don't care if the Talkbackers poo-poo the story or not. If it's in the "cool" genre, then we should read about it here, damnit!

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:52 p.m. CST

    "Thor" and "The Descent 2" are also in the news.

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    It's been confirmed that the character of Donald Blake will indeed be introduced at the end of "Thor." And CHUD.com posted some cool pics from "The Descent 2," a sequel to one of my favorite horror films of the last 10 years and a BNAT alumni. A slow news season? I guess not!

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 2:21 p.m. CST

    GOOFY GORE

    by alice 13

    poor mickey and minnie!

  • I often find myself wondering that.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 3:52 p.m. CST

    a Gattling gun?>>

    by Hamish

    Dammit. Zombies get a lot of filmmakers started because they're cheap to make. The only thing cheaper to make is a slasher.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 4:02 p.m. CST

    WOLFENSTEIN!!!!

    by Lorquaine

    When? When?? WHEN???

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 4:27 p.m. CST

    You had me at "Stretched Intestines"

    by cookylamoo

    I like a movie with guts.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 7:13 p.m. CST

    The best part of the Zombie Vs Shark

    by krullboyisback

    is the awesome, cheesy 70s music. Amazinga and Epic

  • Jan. 7, 2009, 5:30 a.m. CST

    It's funny how milla jovovich didn't mention Resident Evil..

    by Stalkeye

    among the best Zombie flicks. Methinks "she's" very humble (more like humbled.)XD. However, a castle Wolfenstien Movie would be great as long as Boll isn't behind this.Oh, and while I'm at it, have the German Rock band Rammenstien handle the score."This is Mein Teil..":P

  • Jan. 7, 2009, 7:51 a.m. CST

    Hey

    by BBQGlazedSeabass

    What's a trope anyway?