Zombies are fucking terrifying. Whether they be dead old dude, dead little girl, dead accountant, whatever, it doesn’t matter; dead anything shuffling towards you in droves is the ultimate, end all, be all, scariest thing in horror. So who gives a shit if the zombies happen to be nazis? But “Dead Snow” comes from Norway, and all I know is that Vikings come from there, and they churn out super scary black metal bands (those dudes burn down churches… with people in ‘em). Based on those two things, I knew these nazi zombies were going to scare the shit out of me. Whoops, I was wrong (sorry).
Dead Snow starts with the most hackneyed premise in horror: a bunch of youngsters head to a cabin in the middle of nowhere to get drunk and act stupid. Okay, I’m willing to let this slide, because the actors themselves poke fun at this trite premise. Let’s see if this movie can take an original turn further down the line. A half hour later there’s a grizzled old dude sitting on the cabin couch, telling the scary story about nazi zombies in the mountains. But these kids ain’t no dummies, in fact, they’re all med students. “This old guys crazy,” they all say, and they continue to get drunk. You can probably guess what happens next: young people have sex, nazi zombies invade the cabin, young people become bloody and dead.
When I hear “nazi zombie” I instantly think, “fuck yeah, this will be sweet!” but it turns out, it’s completely arbitrary. These zombies could have been dressed up as cuddly teddy bears for all I care, it would have made no difference. How the nazis wound up in Norway is explained (turns out Germany occupied Norway during WWII) but why the hell they’re all still dead-alive in the mountains 65 years after the war isn’t explained. Explanations aren’t always necessary (Night of the Living Dead), but when an entire platoon of dead German soldiers are running (running!) after these kids, I want some goddamn answers. It’s clear that they’re not out to eat brains, so what gives? In my opinion, zombies don’t run and they live for one thing only: to eat fucking brains. Take away those two elements, and you don’t have zombies, you have monsters.
When it comes down to it, Dead Snow is a cookie cutter horror movie. There are a few awesome scenes of gore, but lets be honest: you want to watch this movie because of the nazi zombies. If that’s the case, you’re going to be let down, because these aren’t zombies, these are monsters. And dressing up monsters as nazis is like dressing up Reginald Veljohnson as a cop. Sure it makes sense, but isn’t it a bit redundant?
Dead Snow tries to be a zombie comedy, but if that’s what you’re looking for, check out “Zombieland” instead. That’s out on DVD now.
I give Dead Snow: 2 out of 5 zombie teddy bears.