Five years ago, a little Scandinavian zombie movie made waves among horror fans: Dead Snow, in which defrosted yet still undead German soldiers from World War II terrorize a group on a ski vacation in contemporary Norway. It essentially ripped pages from Night of the Living Dead and The Evil Dead, and reshuffled them into something original and darkly funny. Nazi zombies? Really?
But Dead Snow director Tommy Wirkola couldn’t leave well enough alone and has made a sequel, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, which is something of a letdown for fans of the original. It’s not just that he’s working with a bigger budget or, in a concession to world box-office, has shot it mostly in English and added three Americans to the cast. The mix of horror and humor isn’t as fresh this time.
Still, Dead Snow 2 has its share of fun, goofy, gory moments — especially in the finale, when a group of Russian WWII soldiers is roused from an icy slumber by our heroic ski-trip survivor, Martin (Vegar Hoel), to take on the Nazis, hence the movie’s full title. Half the budget must have gone for fake intestines.
And it features one of the best uses of a certain English expletive with the word “yeah” since Team America: World Police.
Let’s just hope that Wirkola — who’s now making a sequel to another one of his films, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters — doesn’t try to dig up a third Dead Snow. Perhaps it’s time for these Nazis to remain buried.
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DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD
* * * (out of five)
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Cast: Vegar Hoel, Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas
Rated: R (strong bloody horror violence and gore throughout, strong language including sexual references)
Running time: 100 min.