Review: DEAD SNOW 2: RED vs DEAD (2014){0}

As lazy as this might sound, movies like Dead Snow 2 are particularly easy to review, and the reasons why should be pretty simple: same writer / director, pretty much the same crew, it’s got the same tone, the same style, and the same sense of humour, but given that this is a Part 2, we of course need a few new characters, some “extra”-creative carnage, and something particularly explosive. It’s not exactly brain surgery to make a follow-up to a silly zombie movie that lots of people enjoyed, provided you bring back all the key ingredients — and throw a few new toys into the mix.

Clearly I am a fan of Tommy Wirkola’s broad, silly, and enthusiastically splattery “Nazi zombie massacre” movie known as Dead Snow (2009), and I also believe that his “Hollywood movie” (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) is actually a whole lot of fun, so if he’s the man behind the wheel for chapter two (and probably a chapter three) of a “Nazi zombies invade Norway” epic, then count me along for the ride. That’s not to say that either of the Dead Snow films are flawless indie flicks, but they are evidence of a b-movie-loving filmmaking culture that began with Spielberg, Romero, Carpenter, and Dante, but quickly spread to every corner of the planet.

Much more of a splatter comedy than any sort of “periodically amusing” horror film, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead manages to not only bring back our one-armed hero from the first film, but also his undead arm… which has been sewn back onto his body by surgeons. So our hero has a “zombie arm” for the whole film. Not only is that silly, but it’s pretty much directly “borrowed” from the Evil Dead movies, so it should be virtually painful to watch, but nope. It’s pretty fun, thanks mainly to Vegar Hoel’s amusing performance as Martin, and to Wirkola for finding a few new ways to make the “possessed arm” gag work.

In the first Dead Snow, those damn Nazi zombies wanted their gold coins back. In part 2, they’re on a mission to demolish a nearby village, and of course it’s up to Martin, a sidekick called Glenn, and three rather simplistic American stereotypes on hand to save the day. One could argue that the Glenn character is a gay stereotype and that the three Americans are obnoxiously one-note archetypes, and one could refute that this is just the screenwriter making fun of gay stereotypes and obnoxiously one-note archetypes. I’d lean towards the latter, and also throw in a few compliments for the actors, all of whom deliver at least three to five chuckles of their own. (They are: Stig Frode Henriksen (as Glenn) and Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, and Ingrid Hass as the American “zombie squad” goofballs.)

Needless to say, the intentionally skimpy plot often gets to take a break so we can focus on crazy carnage, egregious examples of intestine abuse, and more-than-thorough sequences of full-scale combat between the oddly clever undead and their frankly unintelligent.opponents. It’s just a big batch of energetic silliness that’s made for people who love zombie movies, but don’t mind a little comedy mixed in once in a while. OK, a lot of comedy.

Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg)