Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. You know, to be honest, the DEAD SNOW trailer didn't hit me in the same sweet spot that it did Grand Master Knowles. It felt to me like it was going to spend too much time referencing other films than focusing on hitting that perfect balance between horror and comedy that is damn near impossible to strike. I can count the successes in that genre on one hand. However, I love Nazis as villains, I love Zombies as villains so those two great tastes must taste great together, right? And our first word from out of Sundance is very positive... and the short that played before it, Treevenge, sounds absolutely spectacular. If you're in the snow watching flicks in Park City, do email us in your reviews. AICN doesn't have a presence at either Sundance or Slamdance this year, although I will be contributing some reviews of films playing both festivals in the near future. Here's the review of DEAD SNOW and TREEVENGE!!!
Hi, Harry- I remember how excited you were about Dead Snow after seeing the trailer, so I thought you would be interested in hearing about (and seeing some pictures from) the premiere! My thoughts on the film in short: It was simply Outstanding! Like you, I was excited about the trailer (Nazi zombies in the snow? What's not to like?), and I had pretty high hopes going in. I'm happy to report that the film absolutely lives up to the promise shown in the trailer, and it actually exceeded my expectations. The film was shown at the Egyptian theater at midnight, and upon entering the lobby I was immediatly suprised to see two actors in full zombie make-up and tattered nazi uniforms (see pictures attached). This is my fifth year attending Sundance, and I've never seen this sort of thing before. Nice touch.
After being saluted by the zombies on his way to the stage, the director, Tommy Wirkola, was introduced by one of the Sundance programmers, Trevor Groth. Mr. Groth was clearly a big fan of the film, and he complimented the film-makers on both the unique concept and successful execution their horror film. Mr. Wirkola gave a brief intro along the lines of: We wanted to do something new with the genere, and what could be more scary than zombies? Nazi zombies! Hell yeah! There was a short before the film called Treevenge. This was a great warm-up for the audience: basically a B-movie-style horror film involving Christmas trees taking their bloody revenge on the humans who'd harvested them. Lots of gore, often involving tree branches impailing eyeballs, mouths, etc. And in a scene of pandemonium in the streets, I think I actually saw a guy being sodomized by one of the trees. Twisted stuff, and pretty damn funny. Then we were on to Dead Snow. The film was produced and shot in Norway, and it was subtitled. As I recall the film, I really don't remember reading them at all, so that didn't detract from my experience. And when the characters quote American films, they do it in English with an American accent, which was amusing. Overall, the film had an 80's horror movie feel (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead). Eight 20-something-year-old friends, all medical students, are going on vacation in the mountains unaware of the 'history' of the area they're visiting. They eventually learn this from a spooky camper who visits their cabin on the first night of their stay. This bit was very well done, explaining how Nazis had brutally tortured and robbed the local residents for years. As the war was ending, the locals fought back fiercly, but some of the Nazi's, including their leader, Colonel Herzog, escaped in the nearby mountains. The creepy camper (who kind of reminded me of the guys in The Slaughtered Lamb scene of An American Werewolf in London) cautions that it would be best 'not to awaken the evil in the mountains'. Well, it's not suprising when the don't take his warning seriously.
I really don't want to give away more of the plot at this point. I thought that overall the story had a great mixture of dark humor, suspense, sex, and of course gallons and gallons of blood, brains, intestines and other 'giblets'. I think you'll agree that this is a worthy addition to the zombie genere, and horror fans are going to find there's a lot to sink their teeth into here. If you need more convincing, when the house lights came up I noticed that John Cusack was sitting in the row behind me. When I looked back he was laughing, so I guess it was o.k.
Interestingly, in the Q&A afterward, the director was asked about his views of established zombie 'rules' laid down in previous films. He mentioned that he'd followed "a discussion of fast and slow zombies on Aint It Cool News" a while back. Nice. He said that he went with faster zombies, because a slow zombie, lumbering through a foot of snow would not have been very scary. Point taken.
Well, that's about it. As I said, I'll include a few of my pictures from the premiere which I hope you enjoy! Best Regards, SkinJob69