Dead Snow

Year: 2009
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Cast: Vegar Hoel, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Stig Frode Henricksen

A group of medical students on Easter break decide to spend a relaxing weekend in a friend's cabin located in the isolated mountains of Norway. However, they are unaware that during World War II, a group of Nazi soldiers disappeared into these very mountains never to be seen again. It turns out that these soldiers are all but dead and are now zombies who murder anyone unlucky enough to cross their path.

The Good: The cinematography in this film is breathtaking. Much like the Norwegian slasher film Cold Prey, the isolated mountain setting is used to full effect here. The production values are all top notch and it is refreshing to see a genre film that looks this good. Similarly, the acting is pretty decent across the board and the actors obviously took their roles seriously. The film is pretty fast paced and plays homage to several well-renowned horror films, most blatantly The Evil Dead. Suspense is well built, particularly with the outhouse scenes and the zombie attack scenes on the tiny cabin. The film really picks up the last 20 minutes or so, and gore/zombie fans should not be disappointed. These zombies also use weapons, such as bayonets and hammers, as well as their teeth, to attack their victims and the ending of the film is an adrenaline pumping, blood soaked, good time.

The Bad: The film has so much going for it in regards to the horror/suspense elements, but decides to play up some comedic elements that seem, at times, out of place. The film would have been much more effective without the unnecessary comedic elements had amped up the horror. There are some confusing elements, mainly concerning a box of treasure that may or may not be the reason for the zombie's attack on the group of friends and makes the ending rather confusing. The characters are pretty likable, but do some pretty questionable things; for example, late in the film, after several of their friends have been murdered, we discover that a character or two has had a cell phone the entire time. And they actually get a single! Why they didn't decide to call for help earlier is a questionable point and, like the treasure, is an example of some holes in the script.

Overall: "Dead Snow" is a great entry into the zombie genre. It's a great looking, fast paced film that isn't without its flaws, which come mainly from weak writing. Definitely worth a look for horror fans.

Fright Meter Grade:

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