It snowed where I live last night. It never snows much here, so I decided to make a theme of it and watch a snowy horror. As I perused my Netflix instant queue, I landed on Dead Snow, a Norwegian film I added months ago. I thought, “What the hell?” and pressed play. Boy, am I glad I did. Dead Snow is a subtitled, bloody disgusting, often campy horror film about a group of med students staying in a cabin in the snowy mountains. Soon after their arrival, they fall victim to a group of merciless Nazi zombies. Yes, you read that correctly: Nazi zombies. What ensues is scary, gory and fun all at the same time.
Dead Snow doesn’t try too hard and it doesn’t aim to be something it’s not. It’s simply a massively disgusting horror with a zombie twist. The cast is your standard group of horny 20-somethings who like to drink and play board games. Aside from an extremely bizarre outhouse sex scene, nothing about the characters annoyed me excessively. The kills are vicious and vomit-inducing, often involving the removal of intestines. This film will make you very familiar with the intestines. I don’t wander into foreign horrorland often because I find it tricky to both read subtitles and stay engaged in the visuals, but Dead Snow avoids that because after the first half of the film, there isn’t much talking. No talking means no subtitles.
What distinguishes this film from others in horror and zombie horror is its subtle campy feel, an innovative villain and the soundtrack. As anyone who’s read my reviews knows, I love a good campy horror. A top-of-my-class graduate from the Jason Voorhees Academy, I know what it takes to produce a successful campy horror. Dead Snow has the perfect amount of humor and outrageousness to qualify. It never feels too funny or too silly, but it’s light enough to land right in the middle of the campy horror bullseye. Part of the campy vibe comes from the fresh take on zombies. I’ve watched a lot of zombie movies, but I never knew Nazi zombies existed in horror. And I mean, really, what is worse than the dead come back to life? Dead Nazis come back to life. It’s both hilarious and terrifying. When you think of someone truly evil that you’d never want to rise from the grave, Nazis are surely at the top of the list. These zombies are athletic, too. They run at top speed, climb trees, engage in strenuous hand-to-hand combat… long gone are the limping, broken-ankle zombies of Night of the Living Dead. I found this new take on a well-worn sub-genre refreshing and entertaining. Finally, this movie has one of the best horror soundtracks I’ve heard in a really long time. Music makes the movie, I always say, but current horror doesn’t seem to place as much importance on sound. The opening sequence of Dead Snow is amazing and it wouldn’t be that way without the song selection. Every music note throughout the film fits the tone and action perfectly; plus, the music was just awesome to listen to.
I’ve watched so many horror movies, I often worry there are no surprises left for me. Dead Snow proved me wrong. This Nazi zombie film was crazy entertaining, a little outrageous and positively disgusting. It is the perfect combination and a worthy addition to horror island. Speaking of, I don’t think any creature on the island expected a Nazi zombie to move in. Watch out - these guys mean business.
If you liked Dead Snow, you might also like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.