MOVIE REVIEW: DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: TOMMY WIRKOLA / SCREENPLAY: TOMMY WIRKOLA, STIG FRODE HENRIKSEN, VEGAR HOEL / STARRING: VEGAR HOEL, ØRJAN GAMS / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 12TH
Dead Snow was probably the best horror-comedy to come along since the mighty Shaun of the Dead. The cult 2009 film saw a group of Norwegian students holidaying in a remote mountain cabin and getting picked off one-by-one by a particularly unpleasant group of zombified Nazi soldiers. It was by turns scary, gory, and hilarious – its twisted sense of humour reminiscent of early Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson. What’s more, director Tommy Wirkola snuck in enough geeky film homages to put Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright to shame.
Dead Snow 2 picks up immediately where the first film finished, with sole survivor Martin (Vegar Hoel) still trying to escape the mountain. He succeeds, only to end up in hospital and under arrest for the murder of his friends. Whilst he’s there, a kindly doctor replaces the arm he lost at the end of the first film, which unfortunately doesn’t work out entirely for the best (let’s just mention Evil Dead 2 and leave it at that shall we?).
Needless to say, Martin doesn’t remain in the hospital long. After a hilarious, bloody escape, he takes off in pursuit of the zombies and their commander, Colonel Herzog (Ørjan Gams). Herzog in the meantime has set about resuming his wartime mission of wiping out the local population. And thanks to a handy ability to reanimate the dead, along with some Nazi weaponry - including a tank - procured from a nearby war museum, it looks like he just might succeed.
Martin, on the other hand, picks up a few new allies of his own, including his own faithful zombie (whose repeated, inventive deaths provide the film’s best running gag) and a trio of American amateur zombie killers. The addition of American characters (possibly a result of Wirkloa’s brief, ill-fated Hollywood career, where he directed Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) works well. And, in making one of them a Star Wars fan, there’s again no shortage of the film referencing that was one of the highlights of the original (and yes, the fact that Norway doubled for Hoth does get mentioned).
The humour is a bit broader than the first movie, and the new characters feel more like caricatures than actual people. These are minor quibbles, though, as for the most part Dead Snow 2 is a huge amount of fun. Like both its predecessor and Shaun of the Dead, it’s half an affectionate send-up of the genre, half cracking zombie movie in its own right. If Dead Snow was the Alien of the Nazi zombie subgenre, this is its Aliens – bolder, more ambitious, and equally likely to cause endless debates amongst fans as to which is superior. Oh, and the ending is an inspired, albeit very, very wrong, moment of genius.
Expected Rating: 7/10
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