Friday, July 17, 2009
Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola kicks off Død snø (Dead Snow) to Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” and this rousing (yet vaguely sinister) tune ushers us—without much ado—into this fun Nazi zombie romp.
Yes, you read that right.
How cool is that?!
A bunch of med students are off in the snow-capped mountains for Easter vacation, and, well, they run into those pesky Nazi zombies, and much screaming, and bloodshed, and running around (yes, these are post-28 Days Later deadheads) ensue.
Now, despite that smirk-guaranteed premise (Nazi. Zombie.), Død snø isn’t a horror-comedy on the order of Shaun of the Dead, but rather a horror film that straddles two sub-genres (the zombie romp and the isolated-cabin-in-the-wilderness thriller), with some comedic touches thrown in for good measure.
Think a more sedate version of a latter day Evil Dead installment, when the humour was quickly encroaching on the material. To be clear, there aren’t any Three Stooges or dismembered-hand-giving-the-hero-the-finger moments in Død snø (I did say “more sedate”). But there are some laughs and over-the-top insanity amidst the shouty, gory bits.
In point of fact, early on in Død snø, the horror film milieu is acknowledged, with Evil Dead actually mentioned, a cheeky swipe all in line with Død snø’s sense of fun within a horror movie context; it’s also a sentiment I happen to agree with, a feeling that’s been with me ever since I was vaguely disappointed after seeing Evil Dead 2 for the first time.
Of course, what Evil Dead 2 and Død snø share is that both are rather fun experiences at the cinema. That common trait notwithstanding, Død snø does have its shortcomings, among them, the vaguely insubstantial back story to the wild goings-on. (And yes, Evil Dead did have a very basic back story as well, but somehow, the rest of the audacious proceedings more than made up for its rather elementary nature.)
Still, Død snø does have its moments, and has piqued my interest, not just in a proposed sequel (here’s hoping Wirkola hits it spot on a second time out), but also the reported Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, in which we find the titular siblings all grown up and having turned their childhood trauma into their livelihood. (In this case, I’m hoping Wirkola can get right what Terry Gilliam fumbled in The Brothers Grimm.)
(Død snø OS courtesy of twitchfilm.net; images courtesy of twitchfilm.net, empireonline.com, & shocktillyoudrop.com; Dead Snow OS courtesy of rushprint.no.)