Dead Snow

Dead Snow

Local Legend

During WWII, Nazi Germans stationed themselves at various locations in order to combat the Russians and Britons. One of these unlucky places was Øksfjord, Norway. For three years this particular band of Nazis, led by the evil Colonel Herzog, tortured and killed quite a few Øksfjord occupants. Nearing the end of the war, the Nazis started to fear their fate and feel the unwanted arrival of the Russians. So, they started to steal the townfolks’ silver and gold and shot anyone who protested.

At that, enough was enough. Secretly, the townies gathered together to create a militia; they collected anything to “break a skull” and ambushed the Germans at night, killing several. Colonel Herzog and many of his diabolical followers managed to escape into the snowy mountains and were never heard from again. Assuming that they froze to death or were buried in avalanches, the area inhabitants felt there remained an intensly evil presence in the mountains and resolved to tread lightly upon the snowy heights that surround Øksfjord.

Such is the legend that propells Dead Snow. And such is the lengend that a group of classmates unwittingly trammle upon with noisy snow mobiles while escaping the drugeries of medical school during a winter getaway.

Dead Snow (Død Snø) is a self-aware hommage to the great horror flicks. The movie, and its characters, make no secret of worshipping the Evil Deads, Friday the 13th, and April Fools Day. So obviously, the director, Tommy Wirkola, was very careful to adhere to the classic gore fest paradigm: a bunch of good-looking young-adults, vacationing in a remote location with no cell-phone, radio service, or car. Furthermore, the movie honors the golden horror rule: sex equals death. Thankfully, or not so thankfully, Dead Snow manages to outdo most “sex equals death” scenes by framing that old stardard in an outhouse (of all things gross). So, a debaucherous outhouse scene equals a most henious death.

It goes without saying that Dead Snow takes one, colossal hurdle foward by creating a fleet of Nazi zombies. These “craven bastards,” though, are a slight derivative from the norm. While seemingly losing the ability to converse in their native language, the zombies can still execute war tactics and strategy through a series of grunts and screams that echo through the snow covered peaks and icy fjords of Norway. (Thank God the Norwegians are required to attend a military academy to fulfill their community service requirements.)

Military training or not, the group’s reliance on zombie movies of the past, might prove to be their downfall, for these our not our house-hold zombies. During the initial attack, the movie geek of the lot screams, “Don’t get bitten! Ok!” Even in this inaugural raid, one gets the feeling that these zombies are in want of much more than planting a few infectious bites.

This movie suffered mediocre reviews in Scandinavia, but really, what recent zombie movie (besides 28 Days Later) received stellar praises. The director and actors manage to create and rely upon some hilarious stupefied pauses that are really effective in establishing the “I can’t believe this is happening” sentiment. Of course, there is a wealth of freaky fake-outs and an overabundance of intestinal mayhem, brains, self-mutilation and cauterization, and hemoglobin.

Dead Snow is a definite watch for horror fans! If nothing else, you’ll want to see a particular scene, in which a duo of terrified Norwegians run through the snow, banging a pot to create a distraction for the zombies while the others run for help. Priceless, I tell you!

This movie is in select theaters.

When Dead Snow comes to DVD, I would pair Baron Herzog Chardonnay from California’s Central Coast merely because the name matches the head “craven bastard.” Originally, I thought to pair a bottle of Akvavit, a Scandinavian sipping alcohol, to this movie. Upon second thought, however, draining a bottle of that stuff might result in a trip to the ER, and…I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that.