Oct 16, 2015
Day 16: DEAD SNOW (2009)
Ah, the zombie Nazi. Or the Nazi zombie, depending on your grammatical tastes. They're oh so great and oh so surprisingly underutilized in horror cinema. I love that they're the ultimate evil, especially in zombie form, and there are no moral quandaries involved with hating them. There's none of that "oh, that zombie used to be my mom, how can I kill it" sappiness. Forget about the "who are the monsters, them or us" business. They're Nazis. They're the monsters. The end.
Zombie Nazis (and non-zombie ones as well) make great bad guys in video games because they're just so satisfying to kill. I honestly never get tired of it, whether it's sensitive meathead B.J. Blazkowicz taking them out in Wolfenstein or sharpshooting French resistance fighter Marie Chevalier getting it done in Zombie Army Trilogy. Even pixellated Nazis are assholes, and I love taking them down! Who wouldn't want to kill zombie Hitler? Only a jerk.
Video games: so violent, so gross. What a world!
Now that you know how I feel about Nazi zombies, you can imagine that I was on board with the Norwegian flick Dead Snow, wherein a group of young doofuses are set upon by long-dead Nazis who have returned in search of their ill-gotten gold. ("Damn, even I'm not that greedy!" -- Leprechaun)
I didn't really expect much from Dead Snow and well, I basically got what I expected. It's way-gross, heavy on the humor, and light on the logic. The characters are generally irritating and lame, essentially there to ensure there's a body count. On the other hand, the zombies themselves are fairly unique to the genre–they're not solely interested in "brains", and they don't just bite. They punch and push and use equipment and they still act like a regiment, following commands given by Colonel Herzog. They also run pretty damn fast for being roughly 50 years dead.
This take on zombie behavior is the freshest aspect to Dead Snow, for horror fans have seen pretty much everything else it has to offer, from the nods to The Descent to the obligatory chainsaw/power tools massacre. Despite giving the film a shit ton of leeway with regard to "suspension of disbelief" (I mean, it's zombie Nazis–you just gotta go with it), I was still left with a few head-scratchers when all was said and done. What was the deal with the guy who warns the kids and gives them the history of the area? And would anyone–no matter how horny–actually screw on the shitter in an outhouse?
Although I don't think Dead Snow is ever going to be considered a horror classic, it's not without its moments of charm. Whether it's the zombies rising out of the snow (à la the Conquistadors in Fulci's Zombi) or a decapitated head getting booted high up into the trees, you'll find that--wait, did I just call "a decapitated head getting booted high up into the trees" charming? What a world!