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With: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jeppe Beck Laursen, Jenny Skavlan, Ane Dahl Torp, Bjørn Sundquist, Ørjan Gamst
Written by: Tommy Wirkola, Stig Frode Henriksen
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Norwegian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 06/19/2009

Dead Snow (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Dead Snow, a Norwegian movie that must have had a two-word pitch line ("Nazi zombies!"), one of the characters is a horror movie fanatic, and it's not long before he mentions the first two Evil Dead movies (masterpieces, of course). It's the movie's way of acknowledging that it's aware of horror movies, but it's also aware of horror movies that are aware of horror movies, so it's happy to just be gleefully gory, the way that the original Evil Dead movies were. In truth, no new movie can quite re-capture that mood or that time, but Dead Snow still succeeds with this attitude, just as the similar, recent Dead Shack succeeded.

Joe Bob Briggs once described the original The Evil Dead as a "Spam in a cabin" movie, though the genre has now come to be known as "cabin in the woods," and solidified by an actual self-aware movie called The Cabin in the Woods. Dead Snow has three young male medical students and two female counterparts (a third one is supposed to join later), trudging through the snow to their cabin, where they will spend Easter Break drinking, playing in the snow, and whatever else. An old man comes by the cabin and warns them of great evil. They find a box full of jewels, coins, and other treasures hidden in the house, and thus it begins. The Nazi zombies come.

We have no limit of severed body parts and spattering blood, characters buried under snow drifts (how do you tell which way is up?), and of course, a nookie session in an outhouse. The movie doesn't quite need to end exactly like its predecessors. By the time it comes to its final moments, it has an appealing, "I-don't-care" attitude that carries it over the finish line. It's a movie that doesn't mind standing on the shoulders of giants, so long as it can take a chainsaw to the giant's neck.

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