Sunday, February 21, 2010
Bonus video review: "Dead Snow"
Here's everything you need to know about this Norwegian horror comedy: It has zombie Nazis.
ZOMBIE NAZIS!! I mean, doesn't that say it all? I think after hearing this information, pretty much everyone can decide whether they want to chow down on this goofy helping of splatter fun, or avoid it like the plague.
Count me among the enthusiasts.
Directed and co-written by Tommy Wirkola, "Dead Snow" is a gleeful send-up of the zombie genre, while delightfully reveling in the blood-and-gore celebration.
The characters -- a bunch of medical students taking an Easter holiday at a remote cabin in the snow-choked mountains -- will often break into English to quote American movies or talk about them. One chubby fellow, who's a professed film nerd, even wonders if they aren't acting out the plot of a cheap horror flick with their ill-advised trip to the middle of nowhere.
When the group discovers a cache of gold hidden in the cabin, this same character intones: "Fortune and glory, kid, fortune and glory."
(That's from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," for those slow on the uptake.)
Unfortunately for our friends, the treasure was stolen by the Nazis from the local populace, who eventually rebelled, driving the greedy soldiers into the mountains to die. But their withered corpses -- still dressed in suspiciously fresh-looking World War II uniforms -- remain hungry for the treasure, and human flesh.
For a low-budget horror movie, the bloody special effects are pretty impressive. One person's head is ripped apart by several zombies, leaving his brain to splatter on the ground in front of his friends.
There's a lot of entrails -- they even play a role in the plot. One guy gets disemboweled and keeps on running, but his progress is halted when his intestines snag on a tree branch.
Another fellow makes like Ash from "Evil Dead 2" with a chainsaw.
"Dead Snow" manages to be both funny and horrifying. For people (like me) who love generous helpings of cinematic gore, this flick is a banquet.
DVD extras are pretty generous, and run longer than the movie's 91 minutes.
There's a detailed making-of documentary, and featurettes on the make-up and special effects processes, outtakes and sound production.
There are also a pair of lengthy video segments that chronicle the production ("Madness in the North!") and the film's marketing in the U.S. ("Madness in the West!"). Amateurish but often hilarious, these videologs capture the cast and crew in amazingly frank commentaries.
For example, Wirkola says that in casting his film, he simply chose the actors who would work the cheapest. The actors themselves jokingly (?) berate the film company as a bunch of cheapskates and amateurs.
Especially humorous is the cast's trip to the Sundance festival, where "Dead Snow" was a huge hit. One actor -- sporting a massive cold sore on his lip the whole time -- crashes a fellow cast member's bath, and comments that the rich American food is causing them all to poop several times a day.
What a load ... of fun.
Movie: 3 stars
Extras: 3 stars