Ein, Zwei, DIE!

Dead Snow & Dead Snow 2

Charlotte Frogner
Tabercil, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After I reviewed the terrible House on Cemetery Hill, I perused the comments which, apparently, no one reads and spotted a few suggestions for the category of worst films ever made. Of the films put forward, one in particular stoked my interest (no, not Killer Sofa). DJM proposed Dod Sno (Dead Snow), a Norwegian film featuring Nazi zombies and when we ventured onto Amazon, we found that it had a sequel so managed to get both (cheaply, thank God). After the best part of 4 hours and feeling absolutely drained, I ask you to bear with me here because I honestly don’t know where to start. What I will say is DJM promised drinks and I’ll milk him for that, for the rest of his life.

The wine came out, the snacks and we were ready to go (you don’t think I’d watch this on my own, do you? If I was going to suffer, so was the other half).

The premise for Dead Snow is as basic as you can get. A group of medical students decide to go to a cabin in the beautiful Norwegian mountains where they accidentally awaken a horde of Nazi zombies who procede to kill off each and every one of them. The problem with this one is it doesn’t even stick to its own rules. The zombies were supposed to have been awakened by the finding of a box of gold they stole from the locals in wartime but some of the characters were killed before the medical students had even found the box. My presumption is the writer and director knew that their film was tripe and presumed the audience wouldn’t pick up on that simple flaw. We did. Incompetent doesn’t even cover it.

Anyway, the film starts with a woman running away from something in the moonlit covered woods, while In the Hall of the Mountain King playfully plays through the chase.

After a brief run, she falls down a hill, gets stuck in the trees and is then butchered by her stalkers before the scene changes to show 4 blokes (Martin, Roy, Erlend and Vegard) driving up to Vegard’s cabin in the mountains.With this sort of start, you’d think the rest of the film would continue in the vein it has been described (by various sites) as a comedy horror/black comedy. Like I said, bear with me.

After a strange conversation about spitting in an avalanche, the scene changes to show 3 women (Hanna, Chris and Liv) driving to the same destination, talking happily about the men, Chris excited at the prospect of a single man being amongst their ranks. They come together and arrive at the cabin, where the beers are opened, conversation ensues and then we’re treated to a rock montage of a group of people engaging in snow related activities.

When they retire back to the cabin, they’re visited by a Norwegian Quint, a grizzled hiker who pops in for coffee and regales them with a story about the Nazi occupation during the second world war. How they tortured and killed the locals before looting their gold. How the locals clubbed together, fought back and killed many of the Nazis before Colonel Herzog and some of his men fled to the mountains. How ‘an evil lies, not to be awakened.’ The students think it’s all guff and Norwegian Quint moves on.

Chris decides to get it on with the obviously single bloke in the group, Erlend, while he’s taking a shit (awkward) and fat Nord Freeman (if Martin Freeman was obese, he’d look just like Erlend) waddles back into the cabin, feeling pretty pleased with himself while Chris is dragged into the toilet by the recently arrived Nazi zombies. As she crawls out, in her bid to escape, Tina turned to me and said ‘she’d better be careful. If you get shit in an open wound, it’ll get infected.’ Not that it mattered. She was killed before any worries of infection occurred to her.

As the Nazi zombies close in, chaos ensues as the rest of the students find ways at first to keep them out and then try to escape. Blood and guts fly from both sides until only one of the students is left; having reached his car, he finds that his girlfriend left one of the coins in his coat and as he lifts it to his eyes, we see Colonel Herzog ready to punch through the window before the credits inevitably, and finally, roll.

I think it’s fair to start with the worst of this movie, essentially because they far outweigh the good.

The writer of Dead Snow was clearly a horror fan because this film is littered with tons of references. One of the characters looks through the window of the cabin to see her friend staring back at her before, inexplicably, her head is removed by an off camera arm – Jaws. Vegard, in one scene, has just killed one of the zombies and as he’s looking at the corpse, we see another zombie, slightly out of focus, sit up and look at Vegard – Halloween. Hanna falls off a cliff with another zombie and we see her hidden underneath the snow snivelling as a single torchlight highlights her snot ridden face – Blair Witch. The finding of and calling to of the treasure – Pirates AND Evil Dead. The cutting off of an infected arm – Evil Dead 2. Roy and Martin tool up near the end to fight the zombies – Shaun of the Dead shed scene. There’s even an A-Team moment where Vegard turns his snowmobile into a killing machine complemented by a machine gun no one had. And on and on it goes. I don’t believe this film knew what it wanted to be. Was it indeed a comedy horror or a black comedy as many reviews suggest? Well, since I didn’t find much to laugh about, I certainly wouldn’t give it the comedy status and as for the variety of subgenres that come with this kind of movie, I had no idea. It could have been a parody but it didn’t play out as such. Much easier not to think about it because the makers obviously didn’t think much about it. While they focused mainly on the blood and guts, everything else fell by the by.

The acting was diabolical and though I gave you the names of the characters at the start, by the time you’re 20 minutes through this film, you won’t give a toss who they are or whether or not they are killed. We don’t find out enough about them to care and the dynamics between the characters show as much interest as I had near the end of this film. There are some strange scenes between the characters like one at the beginning where Martin, as a party game, decides to try and smother his girlfriend in front of the rest of the group. She gets understandably pissed off and upset and he laughs it off as a joke before they carry on as normal. The odd couple sex scene between fat Nord Freeman and Chris is just as bizarre – why would anyone initiate sex when the other person is taking a dump? She was sucking his finger and I was yelling, ‘do you even know where that’s been?!’ It was bizarre.

The pace of the movie is stuttered. The majority of it is either chase, death or fight, death and it rarely gives you time to breathe before something else happens. The direction is nothing to shout home about and the writing barely gets any time in the spotlight, though there was the odd line I remembered – for one, when Martin is bitten, Roy tells him the Nazis ‘won’t want you on their team…because you’re half Jewish.’ Made me chuckle anyway.

As for the good, there are some visually stunning scenes. The director was obviously keen on getting the landscapes of his native country some attention and the white slopes and snow topped mountains of the region were a joy to look at. The gore was done adequately – Erlend having his head split and his brain falling to the floor was memorable – though they did overuse the amount of times characters had intestines ripped out, caught or pulled and when the inappropriate rock soundtrack was dropped, the soft piano pieces complemented the surroundings quite well. One of the scenes I did like featured Martin and Roy trying to escape the cabin and Roy decides to chuck out a molotov cocktail. Unfortunately, it’s a wet throw and he accidentally sets fire to the cabin. Martin decides to use this moment (not earlier when the first attack occurred) to call the authorities who, unsurprisingly, hang up on him when he tells them what is really happening – ‘the cunt hung up on me!’ he screams. Well, duh.

It wasn’t a very good film but nowhere near as bad as some might suggest. For one, at least I could find something I liked about it which is more than I can say for the second part.

Do you remember that scene from The Shawshank Redemption, when Andy Dufresne escapes from Shawshanks and has to wade through 500 yards of shit? Getting through Dead Snow 2 was like wading through the remaining 300 yards and finding someone had blocked it on the other end.

Dead Snow 2 can sit proudly as the 2nd worst film I’ve ever seen. Rather than a sequel, the story, if you can call it that, follows on directly from the events of the first film, as Martin seeks to escape the zombie hordes. The budget is bigger, the cast is bigger and the zombies now come in all types not just Nazis. We get wartime Russia zombies as well as modern day locals or whoever is laying about – apparently, Colonel Herzog, Nazi zombie extraordinaire, has a magic hand that can turn the dead into zombies. Urgh. You think that is bad? Keep reading. It gets worse.

Dead Snow 2 begins with a recap of the first one, wrongly explaining what brought the zombies out of hiding (as you’ll know, the killings started before the tiny treasure box was found). Martin gets away from Herzog and his hordes, Herzog having his arm ripped off in the process, but Martin falls asleep at the wheel before the scene cuts and we see him handcuffed to a hospital bed. The policeman in the room thinks he is responsible for the death of his friends while Martin, muttering furiously, is more concerned about wiping out the Nazi zombies. To make matters worse, the doctor tells Martin that they found his arm and reattached it – to his horror, he finds out that they’ve attached Herzog’s arm to his own. Herzog, as it happens, has Martin’s arm attached.

As Martin is lying in the hospital bed, a young American child comes in and starts telling him about the Zombie Squad, a group who will help him rid the world of zombie hordes. The kid helps him escape and Martin’s new magic arm reacts independently to him, grabbing the kid and launching him out of the window. Martin jumps out and in his attempt to revive the kid, ends up killing him instead. Because of the zombie arm. Whatever.

Anyway, Martin finds a car and drives to a war museum, while the Zombie Squad, who are actually 3 nerds, make the trip to Norway to help. He meets up with the only gay in the fjord (Glenn) and finds out that it’s not the treasure that woke the zombies but the completion of a mission they didn’t get to finish in wartime. Meanwhile, the zombies have wiped out a small town – women and kids as well – and have found their way to the museum where they proceed to kill and revive the tourists.

Martin escapes with the only gay in the fjord and meets up with the Zombie nerds who aid him in using his magic arm to revive zombies for his own cause before the big showdown at the end where, in what looks like a battle recreation in a play park, both sets of zombies fight, Herzog and Martin throw their punches and Herzog finally gets his head blown off by a tank. I should mention that a local cop, painted as the big cheese but dealing in petty, local crimes, is trying to get some glory by arresting Martin – which never happens – and at the very end of the film, Martin revives his dead girlfriend – who in the first film was a dreadlocked white girl but who, in this, comes out like a zombie Calypso from Pirates – and then has sex with her in the back of a car.

Now, if that all sounded quite bizarre to you, think about how I felt watching it.

There were only 2 parts that made me laugh in this film and I’m not sure they were even intended. Both happened in the same part – the first, when a woman pushing a wheelchair looks back, sees the zombie Nazis chasing her, decides ‘fuck that’ and buggers off leaving the woman in the wheelchair to get butchered and the second, where Herzog spots 2 women running with prams and blows them all to hell. I’m sure they were meant to be shocking but after watching nearly 4 hours of bits being blown, hacked or sliced off, you become immune to anything else. Watch it yourself and you’ll see what I mean:

Tina fortunately fell asleep towards the end of this film and was spared the final 15 minutes, which I endured. I felt drained and flat and had no idea how I planned to explain away the horseshit that was this film. The only reason House on Cemetery Hill remains, in my opinion, the worst film ever made was amongst the detritus, it couldn’t even bring the simple things together, like editing but this film comes damn close.

Though it stripped away with much of the cult references from the first film (apart from Braindead), the plotlines were batshit crazy. The arm swap, and the resultant reactions, was lifted right out of Idle Hands though the latter at least managed to put out a half decent movie. The Zombie Squad and their transition from nerds to hardened fighters was pointless (as was their presence in this film) and when one of the women said her goodbyes to Martin at the end with ‘may the force be with you,’ I nearly threw the wine bottle at the TV in disgust. For fucks sake! The change of direction, from Nazi gold to an unfinished mission was as welcome as a cup of cold sick but the original, and badly flawed, premise was just as bad. Then there was the Braindead reference, with a disabled man killed by the Nazis repeatedly brought back to life by Martin’s magic arm and acting as a dog-like companion through the film. Urgh. The last scene, where Martin digs up his dead girlfriend and starts having sex with her, I have no words for.

As for the acting, the less said, the better. If the acting was abysmal in the first one, the second was off the chart. Apart from the cop, who came out with one of the weirdest lines I’ve ever seen on film – ‘well, lick my little man pussy’ – not one of the actors in this film would be hired for anything else, not even adverts. No timing, no presence, no idea.

I’m no puritan but the level of profanity in this film was nuts. From the potty mouth vicar at the start – ‘cunting locks’ – it seemed that to be interesting, certain characters had to swear every 5 seconds. Completely unnecessary.

There is nothing good I can say about this pointless waste of a movie. While there was potential, and some merit, to its predecessor, this was absolutely pointless and dire? Dire doesn’t cover it. Characters you don’t care about, a story that is wildly fantastic, and I’ve seen better writing from Jobbie.

Lastly, to the git who suggested Killer Sofa, Tina wants to watch that which means I’ll have to watch it too. Grrrr!

© 39 Pontiac Dream 2021

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file