Director – Tommy Wirkola
Starring- Vegar Hoel, Orjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas
The original DEAD SNOW was brilliant. A fantastic tale of a group of students going up to the snowy mountain wilderness of Norway, looking for a great weekend away, but instead encountering and being butchered by a recently resurrected group of Nazi Zombies. The absurd concept, worked well as it reminded horror fans of the spirit of such films as BRAINDEAD (1992) and EVIL DEAD (1981), low budget, schlocky but brilliantly fun, and with a fantastic strain of dark humour. On top of that it also spawned and highlighted slight renaissance of Nazi Zombie films, such as WAR OF THE DEAD (2011) and NAZI’S AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (2012), a sub genre not so well known in horror aside from the creepy and underrated SHOCK WAVES (1977). Wirkola though has followed up his first film with a gleefully entertaining sequel, that does what any good horror sequel does, and that is it ups the blood and gore, the action, humour and entertainment factor.
Picking up right after the end of the first film, Martin (Hoel) the only one who made it from the dreaded undead zombie troops, is making his getaway from Herzog (Gamst) and his army. In the ensuing car crash that occurs, Martin comes round in hospital, being the only suspect in the murder of his friends, and on top of that having the doctor’s mistakenly put Herzog’s severed arm, surgically placed on his body, after he severed his own arm in the last film. Wanting to track down the undead commander and his army, Martin enlists the help of a trio of three geeky Americans(Starr, DeBoer, Haas) who call themselves the Zombie Squad, and as he now has Herzog’s severed arm, he somehow can use some unexplained powers to raise the dead, and figures out, to fight an army he must instead raise an army, and through the help of the zombie squad finds the location of the graves of a Russian battalion, who died at the hands of the Nazi’s. Herzog meanwhile wants to march over Norway, continuing his orders that were given to him by the fuehrer in the past, and at the same time raising recently murdered corpses (by his own troops) back from the dead to expand his army, leading to a big clash between two army’s. The undead allied with humans, and the undead Nazi army.
Wirkola, knows he is going to have fun with this film, and in many respects there is a more confident and spectacular approach in his directing, and he has worked this well, utilising the fantastic landscape scenery as well as staging some well orchestrated action sequences. If anything it shows a far grander approach than the first DEAD SNOW, though at the end of the day this is no doubt helped by a bigger budget than its predecessor, but it still lets Wirkola play with a bigger canvas. Herzog even commandeers a tank from a war museum that becomes the focal point of his march across Norway. The acquiring of the tank does lend to one of the funniest gruesome visual gags (of which there are plenty) where the undead Nazi troops use some poor museum punters intestines as a makeshift hose to siphon petrol from a coach to the tank to get it filled up and moving.
It’s the most fun bad taste you can have in a film with blood and gore drenched across the screen, spectacular deaths where everyone seems to get it, young and old, kids, elderly and the disabled. The film revels in dark humour and doesn’t mind getting its hands dirty, as well as making us laugh at moments we shouldn’t be laughing at. The cast have great fun with the roles, Hoel is a likeable hero, who has to get used to having the sudden super human power that an un-dead Nazi zombie arm hold’s, once it’s been attached to your body. There is also a funny character in Glenn Kenneth (Stig Frode Henriksen, also co-screen writer),as the gay museum assistant who gets dragged into the zombie showdown, and despite being slightly annoying at first and with one of them using bad Star Wars references the Zombie Squad end up becoming likeable characters as they realise there dream of killing zombies. On top of all this there is a brilliantly funny bad taste use of the Bonnie Tyler power ballad Total Eclipse of the Heart in the concluding scene, which if you ever hear the song again might trigger memories of that conclusion.
Despite a few minor quibbles with the story and certain humour and one liners that seem to repeat themselves (mainly the bad star wars references) there is nothing to complain about with DEAD SNOW 2. It’s great fun, and a wonderful follow up to the original and in many respects is a better film than the first. No denying the original was superb, but in terms of fun action packed horror, and fantastic level of craziness that the film delivers and in a sub-genre such as Nazi zombie horror, this might be the best of the bunch and certainly ends up as an excellent genre flick.