Review: Dead Snow 2 – Red VS Dead

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Cursed Nazi zombies attempt to complete their mission to destroy a Norwegian town. The only people in their way are a man with a cursed arm and the Zombie Squad.

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For those of you who haven’t seen the first Dead Snow, its a highbrow documentary analysing the Nazi invasion of Norway. Ok its about defrosted nazi zombies attacking a group of friends on a snowy hillside.

Dead Snow is a great fun film, and while Dead Snow 2 picks up the story immediately following the end of the first, unlike some films a catchup is provided at the beginning of the film. So while it helps to see the first, you can get by OK.
Following the low budget but over the top original (also directed and written by Tommy Wirkola), Dead Snow 2 ramps everything up.  Bigger budget, better effects – both CGI and pratical, and more zombies. Oh and a tank, this time they have a tank!

The film follows the fate of Martin from the first film after he was attacked by Herzog. He luckily escapes but ends up with the severed arm of the Nazi commander stitched onto his shoulder (stay with me….). With a powerful cursed zombie arm that he is unable to control he must defeat the Nazi army as they try finish their failed mission from 70 years ago – to wipe out an entire town in retaliation for the Norwegian Resistance.

Dead Snow 2, if you couldn’t tell from the quick synopsis is a great fun film to watch and even better viewing with a large group. Tommy Wrikola (writer and director of both films), seems to of applied the lessons from the first and his foray into Hollywood with Hansel and Gretel to this movie, and it shows. While the film has over the top acting, highly stereotyped characters (notably the zombie squad) and a action filled finale that docent quite work, overall it is a raucous and lively laugh filled comedy.

The film has one sticking point, and both times Ive watched it, its been an issue for me. The battle at the end of the film between the zombie armies.  While it looks like filmmakers and extras had fun with the sequence (let alone the makeup department that had a field day), the battle sequence is 20 minutes of a 1:50 minute film and could easily be chopped in half (at least). In both screenings I attended, I watched the film grind to a halt before my eyes. Thats not to say there aren’t some great moments within those 20 minutes- Martin being thrown through the roof by Herzog and tumbling down the stairs cracks me up every time.

This film is not going to win an Oscar, but it might make you spit your drink across the room if your not careful.


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Having liked Dead Snow, I was really looking forward to seeing the sequel at Frightfest last year, so much so that I ended up paying for an extra ticket due to my screening of Dead Snow 2 clashing with Wolfcop, in hindsight I should have just seen Dead Snow 2!

Continuing from the where the first film ended, Martin (Vegar Hoel) thinks he’s survived the nightmare of the Nazi’s zombie attack, having returned all the gold. Except it’s not over, he still has a gold piece and Herzog (Orjan Gamst) wants his gold. However, things take an unexpected turn as Martin manages to escape and Herzog remembers his original mission. Now Martin must stop Herzog before he destroys a whole town, but he needs help, enter the Zombie Squad and a dead Russian Platoon with a grudge to bear.

Tommy Wirkola does something with Dead Snow 2 that most sequels fail to do, and that’s better the original film. For me Wirkola manages this not just by adding more gore, better SFX and much more humour but actually by driving the story forward and not just repeating what he did in the first film. Everything is better for me in this film, the set-pieces are brilliantly staged and the final battle is just superb.

Vegar Hoel, who was involved in the writing is brilliant as Martin, and the Introduction of the Zombie Squad; Martin Starr as Daniel, Jocelyn DeBoer as Monica and Ingrid Haas as Blake just builds on the scale of the film. Hallvard Holmen as Gunga and Amrita Acharia as Reidun, two cops trying to track down Martin have some of the funniest dialogue in the film.

Dead Snow 2 is hilarious at times, actually a lot of times, with a number of “WOW! Did they just do that” moments, which I just had to laugh at. It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so much at a film at the cinema. Even at Celluloid Screams where the film closed the festival I laughed just as much as I did at Frightfest. If you liked the original then I think you will find the sequel a hell of a lot of fun. I’ll be picking up my copy on DVD this week, that’s for sure.


 

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