November 7, 2014

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Tommy Wirkola, 2014
Picking up at the end of the first Dead Snow film, Martin (Vegar Hoel) manages to escape the small army of Nazi Zombies. But he soon finds himself in a hospital and subdued. He discovers that obtaining their gold wasn't the only thing that the Nazi's wanted. They also want to fulfill some missed opportunities from World War II.

You always hope that a sequel can take the original premise of it’s predecessor and build upon it. Dead Snow 2 certainly does this. While the simple story-line of the first film worked well, the sequel manages to elaborate on the premise. At times it's completely ridiculous. On paper, the plot is preposterous. But because it's put in the right hands, it works. It works because it never takes itself seriously. It ventures into the Shaun of the Dead zomedy realm, while also riffing on 1999's Idle Hands (possibly the first film to do so). It pokes fun at the American obsession with the zombie genre, and the sci-fi genre for that matter. Not afraid to employ such tropes as the bored cop looking for some action. The protagonist assembling a group of amateurs to take on the big big boss, the David vs. Goliath device. It doesn't hold back on the gore, being completely unforgiving to humans old and young. Wirkola gets quite creative with the carnage: zombie pets, organ extraction, siphoning gasoline through human intestines. It probably won't work on everyone, either. Some people likely expect more of a serious Walking Dead-like approach to the zombie genre. But films like this are great because they aren't afraid to venture out a bit, attempting to shift to something other than cold Dystopian horror. When the zombie movies stretch into the comedy realm its refreshing, serving as a palette cleanser of sorts. In fact, most of them are pretty good (Zombieland, the aforementioned Shaun of the Dead, Fido, My Boyfriend's Back, Warm Bodies to name a few). The general zombie genre is an over-saturated category of film with more bad than good. Dead Snow 2 manages to evolve from the ordinary, taking some risks that could have just as easily placed it in the campy realm but instead puts it right up there almost on the same level with Edgar Wright's 2004 zom-com.

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