Sunday, April 04, 2010

Day Eight: Dead Snow (2009)

Now this is what I'm talking about!

I wasn't sure about this one at first, but I'd heard nothing but good things about Dead Snow, a Norwegian zombie comedy pitting a group of twenty-somethings against Zombie Nazis, so we figured we had to fit it in the schedule this year.

And while I don't think Dr. Girlfriend enjoyed this one as much as I did, I think we could agree that it was one of the best zombie films of the 2010 Easter/Zombie Marathon.

Although, to be fair, until the zombies really come out to play, this was bordering on just too tedious and self-aware for my tastes. Now, don't get me wrong. I love it when a film references the classics, even when it's just by doing something cheesy like naming the characters after famous directors (like Fred Dekker did in Night of the Creeps).

It adds to the fun, when you suddenly recognize a name-check or see an scene that echos one from an older film.

I'm not too thrilled, however, with films that have characters openly referencing and quoting classic films as fans of those films. A cool T-shirt is one thing, but when a character starts commenting on how much their trip to a cabin in the woods is like Evil Dead, and then starts discussing the relationship between Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, it's a bit too much.

I get it. The creators like those classic films. Discussing them inside the narrative of a film inspired by them is too Meta for me.

I suppose it could be done right, but usually, as with Dead Snow, it was just heavy-handed and annoying. Your mileage may vary.

But that's really nit-picking. Once we get past the introductions of the characters, as well as the "fun in the snow" montages, things start to really pick up. The plot is interesting, establishing why there are Nazi zombies running around in the first place, and the acting is effective. There were very few rough patches there.

And the gore effects are superb. As are the kills themselves.

This film brought two things to the table that I hadn't really seen before (or if I have, I've forgotten): zombies that are cunning, devious, and are ready to punch you in the face before they kill you; and a sex scene in an outhouse.

Yes. I did just say that.

One of the characters goes to the outhouse to take a dump, and a lady friend follows shortly thereafter and proceeds to sit on his lap and, um, you know. Never mind the logistics and the weather.

Anyway, it was the Nazi Zombies that really made this one interesting. Their leader, Standartenf├╝hrer Herzog, orchestrates his zombie troops to converge on the isolated cabin with a motivation that makes them seem more like zombie Pirates than Nazis. All of this leads to a final confrontation between the last survivors and the Nazi hordes. There are horribly violent deaths, horribly violent self-mutilation, and laugh-out-loud moments one after the other.

I actually laughed so hard at one point I had tears running down my face.

Dr. Girlfriend looked at me as if I was a fool.

So, again, your mileage may vary.

But me, I liked this one a lot. So far, it's second only to Pontypool and rivals Night of the Creeps in my book.

2 comments:

  1. I still haven't seen this. It came out a while ago here, but it got panned, and slipped further and further down my rental list as a result.

    On a related note, someone needs to buy the film rights to 2000AD's "Fiends of the Eastern Front".

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  2. As far as zombie films go, I thought the payoff was worth the inane first third or so of the film.

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