BLU-RAY REVIEW: DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: TOMMY WIRKOLA / SCREENPLAY: TOMMY WIRKOLA, STIG FRODE HENRIKSEN, VEGAR HOEL / STARRING: VEGAR HOEL, ØRJAN GAMST, MARTIN STARR, JOCELYN DEBOER, DEREK MEARS / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 12TH
Norwegian horror Dead Snow was one of those films that had a plotline so absurd and intriguing that it was hard to ignore - a group of students vacationing in a remote cabin are attacked by reanimated Nazi zombies. Throw in some gratifyingly gory death scenes, sharp dark humour, and a blatant nod to Sam Raimi’s classic Evil Dead (1981) and you’ve got the recipe for a fun film. It’s no wonder Tommy Wirkola’s splatter flick achieved a little bit of a cult status for itself in the horror circuit.
As is almost inevitable with the success of a low-budget film, a sequel seems to be beckoning before the end credits have even rolled on the original. The foreseeable sequel comes in the form of Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, which picks up exactly where the original ends. It opens with solitary survivor Martin (Hoel - minus an arm) fleeing the Nazi zombies who are now making their way down the mountain to threaten the unsuspecting town of Talvik, which leader of the Zombie pack, Colonel Herzog (Gamst), has some unfinished business with on the orders of one Adolf Hitler.
If not already traumatised enough by the events of the first film, an early scuffle with Colonel Herzog leaves our survivor Martin in a ‘Freaky Friday’ situation where his lost limb is replaced with Colonel Herzog’s Nazi saluting, bloodthirsty, cursed arm. Obviously, chaos and hilarity ensue. Joining Martin in his fight against the undead, genocidal army are a few new recruits, namely the ‘Zombie Squad.’ All they way from the US of A, this trio of geeky Americans have been preparing for an attack for years, but perhaps not one like this.
In the film, both Herzog and Martin (through Herzog’s cursed appendage) proceed to raise some zombie recruits to aide them. If the first film was a zombie slasher, think of Red vs. Dead as an all-out zombie war film, made bolder and brasher thanks to its improved budget. The film’s locations actually look splendid and the picturesque Norwegian countryside provides the perfect backdrop to some spectacular bloodshed. In fact, a considerable sum of the improved budget must have gone towards paying for the sheer amount of intestines in the film. One wonders how Wirkola keeps finding intuitive ways to pull them out of a human body.
The narrative isn’t without its flaws though, which come partly due to one too many cringe-worthy Star Wars references (bar one good Hoth one) from Zombie Squad member Monica (DeBoer). The inclusion of a foul-mouthed police officer and his attempts to catch Martin, who he blames for the original film’s murders, also seems a little miscalculated and in honesty is a rather superfluous addition to the overall plot.
Dead Snow 2, is certainly not a perfect film, but it ultimately manages to equal the fun factor of its predecessor, which is by no means an easy task. Some will actually prefer the second appearance of Herzog and his men due to some beautiful cinematography and even more gooey fatalities on a much larger scale - the zombies have a bloody tank this time!
In a clear meta-reference during the film, Zombie Squad leader Daniel (Starr) proclaims to Martin, “You’ve created a whole new genre here, man!” Whilst perhaps not a WHOLE new genre, you can’t deny that Tommy Wirkola’s work is innovative and motivated by a desired drive to present entertaining horror flicks… that also happen to have a lot of intestines in.
Special Features: VFX Breakdown / ‘The Arm’ short film
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