Running time 90 minutes
Written by Stig Frode Henriksen and Tommy Wirkola
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Starring Charlotte Frogner, Ørjan Gamst, Stig Frode Henriksen, and Vegar Hoel
Dead Snow is a Norwegian horror film, if you can envision such a thing without developing a cataract, about a group of randy skiers in a mountain cabin without cell phone signals (or indoor plumbing) who are attacked by Nazi zombies. You can’t make up this stuff.
Four couples head for an Easter weekend outing in a remote ski area that was once the site of a former German stronghold, where the locals were raped, tortured, beaten and massacred by storm troopers. The survivors retaliated, using knives, spades, axes and scythes to kill 300 soldiers in the dead of night. Now the corpses are back, rising from snowy graves to rip the brains out of the skulls of anyone who encroaches on their burial site. The handsome leader of the skiers takes the snow scooter to search for his missing girlfriend and finds an underground cave filled with swastikas, helmets and 9-millimeter Lugers. Before he can warn the others, one girl gets it in the outdoor toilet, and another climbs a tree only to get attacked by a giant bird protecting its nest. Since they’re all medical students, they know how to sew up wounds with fish hooks and amputate their own arms that have been bitten by zombies. But how do you combat goose-stepping predators if they’re dead already? Even the discovery of a machine gun is not much help when a new army of ghouls hungry for human flesh marches across the horizon of bloodstained snow after every human feeding.
The result piles on relentless thrills and unimaginable horrors, with a shock ending guaranteed to make you scream out loud. Director Tommy Wirkola mixes gore with humor (the Nazi zombies are pretty funny, like Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein); the cadaverous makeup is outstanding; the actors do an admirable job portraying authentic-looking terror; and the fact that there is no conventional happy escape ending is refreshing. The director calls Dead Snow “Scandinavia’s first Nazi-zombie-horror-slasher-feel-good film.” I’m not sure about the feel-good part. The potential for tension and suspense is also diminished by screeching rock music that diametrically opposes the mood the film is trying to create. But as zombie movies go, it sure scared the hell out of me.