Young filmmakers have the burden of trying to create something new in the wake of more than 50 years worth of film. One could argue that this is even more difficult when applied to the horror genre as one would think there could only be so many ways to dispatch your cast in interesting ways. However, despite this burden, filmmakers like Norway’s Tommy Wirkola should not overtly list the films inspired his Dod Sno (Dead Snow) (like Friday the 13th (1980) and Evil Dead (1983))within the first 20 minutes for fear of not living up to the standard. Luckily for the audience, after a rocky start, Wirkola does just that.
Six Norwegian medical students have traveled to a small cabin in mountains near Oksfjord (they don’t have woods in Norway) to relax, drink, play twister and engage in snowmobile-related shenanigans. Everything goes swimmingly until a local camper relates the terrible history of the area during World War II. Apparently, the local people were subjugated by the Nazis (shocking, I know) for three years and at the end of the war mustered the courage to chase the Nazis out of their village and into the mountains where they met an unknown end. Our six students find out what happened to the Nazis the very next day when they are attacked by, you guessed it, Nazi Zombies!
Let’s take a moment and bask in the warm glow of such an incredible horror movie idea: NAZI ZOMBIES! Gentle readers, we must admit certain truths about ourselves as a movie-going audience. We love watching Nazis get brutally destroyed. We love watching zombies get decapitated and dismembered as much if not more than the Nazis. In Dod Sno, Wirkola has given us the horror movie equivalent of Reese’s Peanut Buttercups: Two great tastes that taste great together!
Now, our six Norwegian medical students are essentially interchangeable. They’re similar to the teens we’ve come to know and enjoy in most slasher films. What separates them, however, is that each one is more hardcore than the last. We’re talking “stitch up your own neck bite with no mirror and fishing line” hardcore. Without revealing the manner in which they are dispatched, I will say that the will to win is strong in all of them: if they’re going down, they’re taking as many Nazi Zombies as they can down with them. And there are oh so many Nazi Zombies.
Gore-wise there is more than enough to satisfy. The only problem is getting to it. The first half of the film goes on entirely too long and alternates between being an advertisement for the Norwegian tourism bureau and an Ace of Base video. (Yes, Ace of Base is Swedish but you get my point!) Once the gore begins, it dominates the second half of the film with excellent use of bayonets, snowmobiles, chainsaws, lower intestines, grenades, molotov cocktails, and communism. And just when you think you’ve seen everything, Wirkola escalates the situation.
What’s worse than Nazi Zombies?