Review: Dead Snow DVD

STUDIO: IFC/MPI | DIRECTOR: Tommy Wirkola | CAST: Orjan Gamst, Vegar Hoel, Charlotte Frogner
RELEASE DATE: 2/23/2010 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray $29.98
BONUSES: featurettes, Sundance premiere, outtakes, VFX
SPECS: NR | 92 min. | Foreign language horror | widescreen | stereo | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Within the first 10 minutes of Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow, a zombie movie from Scandinavia, a soon-to-be-slain group of young people on holiday play a horror movie trivia game, wherein they mention April Fool’s Day, Friday the 13th and The Evil Dead and The Evil Dead II. Is this an homage or maybe a deconstructionist meta-cinema thing? Or perhaps it’s just a way to fill out the screen time until the carnage begins? Hmmmm…

In this film, it’s a phalanx of frozen Nazi soldiers in Norway who thaw out, turn into zombies and eagerly await an inevitable group of young vacationers to snowmobile into their turf and provide some long-awaited appetite appeasement. Dinner is served after a half-hour setup, and each course is more gruesome (and often funnier) than the next.

Though there’s no denying that the blood-and-guts glisten with exceptional luxuriousness when they spill out onto snow, Dead Snow still plays out like most other indie zombie films. There’re a handful of clever blood-letting bits that are destined to pop up in a mutilation montage on YouTube, connected by a flickering story that doesn’t deliver on any earlier narrative promise.

Dead Snow’s most imaginatively gory sequences include a vacationer clinging to the rope-life intestine of a zombie as he dangles from a precipice and another unfortunate dude who has his appendages and head ripped off by an eager quintet of the undead. Later on, an innocent turns the tables on one ghoul by taking a bite out of him, a satisfying bit of business that immediately reminds us how hungry horror fans continue to eat up any and all zombies that come their way. Meta-meta-cinema?


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.