Sunday, March 14, 2010
"Dead Snow" Gives Guts and Guffaws
The Norwegian Nazi-zombie flick "Dead Snow" takes the familiar "bunch of attractive young people go to a remote cabin and all hell breaks loose" formula, adds some excellent and creative splatter and winds up being about as amusing as a Nazi-zombie flick can be.
This is a tough subgenre, which as far as I know only has two other entries: the immortal "Zombie Lake," which features not only zombie love but pointless nekkid volleyball, and "Shock Waves," which puts to rest the oft-stated canard that Nazi zombies can't handle salt water.
Martin and the rest of the gang go off to a cabin in the Norwegian outback for fun and frolicking. Two things mar the trip from the git-go, though: Martin's girlfriend Sara is skiing in, and she hasn't arrived, and this old guy shows up, insults their organic coffee and mentions that the area they are in was terrorized by an especially brutal German unit during the war — and while the populace eventually rose up and slaughtered some of them, the remainder vanished.
The whereabouts of Sara functions as a MacGuffin, since we saw the film's opening sequence in which Sara is tracked down by the undead soldiers, and serves to get Martin away from the others on his ski-doo.
Everybody dies, but not before some really first-rate zombie-kid interaction. We're talking chain saw surgery. Also fishing line surgery. Heads roll. Heads are ripped apart. Drawing and quartering, frozen zombie-style. Sex in outhouse. Splendid use of intestines as climbing rope. Inane Yoot dialogue sounds much better in Norwegian.
Automatic one-coil deduction for no nudity — highly shocking in a Scandinavian film. Three coils.
And an opinion on the modern, fast-moving zombie:
I understand the impulse that created the speedy zombie. A fast-moving enemy makes for better action scenes, and allows for the sudden "Boo!" moment.
But the real horror of "Night of the Living Dead" was not the individual ghouls, which were relatively easy to subdue.
It was their sheer number, and their inexorable, dumb progress toward the farmhouse.
The nimble zombie, which seems to be quicker-witted as well, is too human. Next thing you know, they'll be talking...oh, wait, we've had that.
No, the original 1968 stumbling, uncoordinated, ramshackle ghouls are much scarier.