Dead Snow

cast: Charlotte Frogner, Ørjan Gamst, Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel, Jeppe Laursen

director: Tommy Wirkola

87 minutes (18) 2008
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
E1 DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Adam J. Hartley

Given the premise of this film (Norwegian students versus Nazi zombies) how could it fail to be likeable? Tommy Wirkola’s tongue-in-cheek horror is a sort of Shaun Of The Dead goes skiing. Opening somewhere in the snowy Norwegian mountains, Dead Snow (aka: Død snø) jumps straight into the action before introducing the main characters; eight medical students on Easter vacation, one of whom has a fear of blood.

From this point onwards the film is very conscious of itself with characters referring to both The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. In a way this somewhat spoils it, begging the question if these people know they are in a horror why are they still progressing?

Staying in a small cabin near Øksfjord all seems well with drinking, partying and unexplained sex in an outhouse. This is however, until the group is met by a mysterious hiker with a taste for good coffee. He explains that in World War II a platoon of Nazis led by a notorious Colonel Herzog occupied the area. The Nazis abused and tortured the local people, stealing all their gold. The local citizens finally managed to stage an uprising, forcing the Nazis into the mountains where it was believed that they froze to death.

Following this encounter the soon to be victims find a box filled with gold inside the cabin. Before they have a chance to celebrate they are confronted by an army of vengeful Nazis after their gold. Queue referential montage as the students arm themselves with various weapons, including a chainsaw. They then take to the mountains to fight these Nazi zombies.

The action scenes of the film are actually quite respectable but they are letdown by weak characters and poor acting. A rare highlight is actually found in the soundtrack with Tchaikovsky’s Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy non-diegetically playing over a particularly violent scene. Again the self-conscious aspect of the film, which could be used quite cleverly, just becomes annoying as the characters know that they are in a horror and don’t do anything about it. When the students make a run for it they decide that it would be a good idea if they split up. With brains like that how did they ever get into medical school?

So, back to the start; given the premise of the film, how could it fail to be likeable? The answer is very easy. With wooden acting, a lack of any real laughs, the film always seems lacking and predictable. It’s as if it begins to follow the rules of a horror set out in Scream then just throws them out the window for the sake of more blood. As a basic horror it is acceptable but there are too many laughs and a lack of tension to make it a real horror, and with nowhere near enough laughs to make it a comedy the final outcome just leaves you feeling disappointed as to how you spent the last hour and a half.