Dead Snow: Red vs Dead

Divine Silliness — A Zombie Movie for Everyone

Dead Snow: Red vs DeadSequels have a bad rap. But there is no reason this has to be. In general, they are bad because the producers are just trying to make some quick cash. Dead Snow: Red vs Dead is an outstanding sequel.

In 2009, I almost died and ended up staying in a hospital for 7 months. Most of that time, I was in long-term care, meaning that I didn’t feel bad, but had to be there because they were still doing a great many medical procedures on me: three times daily IV injections of one kind of antibiotics, two other forms of oral antibiotics, CAT scans, ultrasounds, and much more. And since I was at a cheap hospital, there was no internet, little television, and a terrible selection of books. As a result, I got into the habit of reading the newspaper everyday.

Nazis, Zombies, and Lots of Intestines

One day, I came upon a short article buried deep in the culture section about an upcoming horror film out of Norwway. It was called Dead Snow and was about some young people who were vacationing in northern Norway. They unwittingly reanimate a hoard of Nazi zombies and spend the rest of the movie dying.

It sounded like too great a film a miss, but I was stuck in the hospital, and I’m not sure the film had even been released by that time. But it stayed in my mind for the few years before I actually got to see it. The film is played about as straight as a zombie picture can be at this point. And it had many chilling scenes. I’ll show you a collection of some of the more impressive scenes. (And if you are wondering, yes, intestines play a big role in Dead Show and its sequel.)

I thought no one survived the first film because everyone but Martin had clearly died. Martin gave the gold back to the Nazi zombies and was allowed to go. But when he got in his car, he found that he had inadvertently kept a gold coin. On seeing it, he picks it up, looks at it, and says, “Oh Fuck!” Now we see the Nazi commander at the driver side window; he punches the window and the film cuts to black. Credits.

Thus, I was surprised when the sequel Dead Snow: Red vs Dead came out. I was afraid it would be bad. It could, of course, have been one of those awful sequels where there are all new characters — like The Blair Witch Project sequel Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. Or some ghastly prequel like the 2011 The Thing.[1] But this was not the case.

I was wrong to figured Martin was dead. It’s actually the perfect opening for Dead Snow: Red vs Dead. This is a movie, after all! People don’t just die because a zombie breaks their car window and grabs them. (See for example the excellent remake of Night of the Living Dead.) And indeed, after a brief explanation of what happened in the first film, this is exactly where Dead Snow: Red vs Dead starts.

Dead Snow Ending / Dead Snow: Red vs Dead Beginning
Dead Snow Ending and Dead Snow: Red vs Dead Beginning

History

Dead Snow: Red vs Dead is often refereed to Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead or just Dead Snow 2. So it is a sequel. Frankly, I don’t see how a film with Nazi zombies couldn’t be a success. It’s kind of like a movie about zomeie zombies. Or for Americans, who are horrified by ISIS, ISIS zombies. But Nazis are better because they have all symbolism. We have all seen a bunch of films with Nazis in them. Add the zombie element and you are golden. I’m shocked someone didn’t think of it sooner. But I think the problem was that the Nazis were never on American soil. So we had to leave it to the Norwegians. Americans couldn’t have Nazi zombies, but Norwegians could!

The first film was a pretty typical zombie film. It’s good — well worth watching. But after Dead Snow: Red vs Dead, it really acts as little more than a set-up for the sequel. And without the first film, the sequel never would have been made. According to Wikipedia, the film made a modest profit. But with DVD sells and distribution in other countries, I assume it made a lot of money. And when that’s the case, there will be financial-zombies lining up to invest in a sequel.

The only question is whether the sequel will be a by-the-numbers film that will impress no one other than 17 year old boys or whether it will be a work of art. Dead Snow: Red vs Dead is a work of art — a film that scares, thrills, and makes you laugh out loud. Dead Snow: Red vs Dead is a better film that its original. And its original was a good film.

Dead Snow was shot in Norwegian. But when the film took off, they dubbed it into English. And they did a great job. I doubt that most viewers would have even noticed. I recommend that English speakers watch the dubbed version. When the team came to make Dead Snow: Red vs Dead, they did something different. They shot it in English and then some. See the Trivia section below.

In order to cut costs, most of the film was shot in Iceland. The start of the film was shot in Norway, I assume to match the first film. But the rest of it was Iceland. Who would have thought that Norway’s Canada was Iceland.

What’s Interesting about Dead Snow: Red vs Dead

The two Dead Snow films share much in common. They have the same overall sensibility. When Tom Savini was hired to direct the remake of Night of the Living Dead, he asked himself, “How do I make zombies frightening again?” After all, zombies had now been used in television commercials to sell beer. Zombies aren’t, in their own right frightening. His solution was to focus on what zombies do: they eat your brains. In other words: zombies are frightening if you can get people to see them in terms of death. As much as I love the Savini Night of the Living Dead (and that’s a lot), I more agree with what Tommy Wirkola and company came up with.

And that is simply that zombie movies are ultimately silly and thus comedies. It’s true that when I was a kid in the late 1960s and early 1970s, The Last Man on Earth (really the first modern zombie film) scared me to death.[2] I had so many dreams about it that I still remember them. But Dead Snow doesn’t take the zombies seriously. It has to make them Nazis to give them any horror at all.

The gore is there for laughs. And hey: Nazi zombies! But the film still maintained the pretense that we were all watching a horror film. And some of the film really is scary. When Hanna is hiding in a tree, it’s suspenseful. But as Nigel from This Is Spinal Tap would say, “Dead Snow: Red vs Dead brings the silly up to 11.” Or more like 12 or 13. It is not only very silly, it is in love with its own silliness.

Here is a short list of some of its divine silliness:

  • Martin and the Nazi commander each have their arms cut off and get the other’s arm reattached. This leads to things like Martin attacking a black guy because his arm is racist.
  • The Zombie Squad, professional zombie killers, come from America. They consist of three nerds whose only actual experience is watching films. Nonetheless, they manage to kick some major zombie ass.
  • Martin raises an army of Soviet zombies killed by the Nazis during World War II and there is literally a war between the Red Zombie Army and the Nazi Zombie Army.
  • The film ends with Martin reanimating Hanna — his girlfriend who he accidentally killed in the first film — and they, well, do it. But it’s even more delightfully twisted than you are thinking.
  • The core of the film is Vegar Hoel’s wonderful performance as Martin. He’s the only person in the film who seems truly to grok that there are Nazi Zombies roaming the land. Even the police seem strangely disconnected as they watch the two zombie armies fight each other.

When I watch a film, I get lost in it. This is one of the reasons that I insist upon watching a film several times before writing about it. But I don’t recall being scared at any time the first time I watch the film.

That’s not a put-down of the film. It just isn’t trying to be scary. It’s trying to be funny. And if you have a slightly twisted sense of humor, you will find it very funny.

Plot Summary

After a very good, and quick, summary of what happened in the first film, narrated by Martin. He says he found the gold, gave it back, and was free to go. He makes it back to his car and in voice over he says, “I was free.” And then we see the gold coin and Martin narrates, ‘I was wrong.” And then Dead Snow: Red vs Dead starts. The Nazi commander, Herzog, who only looked like he was going to punch the window, does. He grabs onto Martin, but Martin gets his car in gear and drives off with Herzog hanging onto the car.

As Martin speeds down the icy road, a truck approaches. The two vehicles pass by so closely that Herzog’s lower arm is ripped off, landing in Martin’s car. The rest of Herzog lays on the icy ground. The truck driver, being a good guy, rushes to help him. Of course, Herzog kills him and then reanimates him as one of his followers. Meanwhile, Martin crashes his car badly.

Martin's Nazi Arm Kills the Doctor
Martin’s Nazi Arm Kills the Doctor

The Hospital

Martin wakes up in the hospital, handcuffed to his bed. There is a cop there who, like all cops, thinks he knows everything. He does point out one thing that is right. Martin’s girlfriend was killed with a hatchet that has Martin’s finger prints all over it. Martin did, in fact, kill his girlfriend. It was an accident. He was hacking away at zombies and she came up behind him and caught the hatchet in her neck.

There is also a doctor there who says, quite rightly, that only Martin knows what happened. And he tells Martin that the news is not all bad. You will remember that Martin cut his right lower arm off with a chainsaw, because he was bit by a zombie and believing he would turn into one. (This was a mistake: different kind of zombies.) So the doctor managed to attach Herzog’s right arm onto Martin. So now Martin has a Nazi zombie arm, which will turn out to be very important in the rest of the film.

An American kid on holiday sneaks into Martin’s room and takes a picture of his zombie arm. He then sends it to the Zombie Squad (ZS). Martin is thrilled. These expert zombie killers will come and help him. Martin convinces the kid to unstrap him. Unfortunately, Martin doesn’t have much control over his zombie arm at this point. He ends up throwing the kid out of the window. And when he tries to give him CPR, his zombie arm ends up crushing the boy’s chest. Martin grabs the kid’s phone, steals a car, and gets away.

Martin on the Run Talking to the Zombie Squad
Martin on the Run Talking to the Zombie Squad

On the Run

While making his getaway, the phone rings. It is the leader of the ZS. He explains that these are not textbook zombies. These are cursed zombies who have some mission they must complete. He tells Martin that they are on their way, but in the mean time, Martin should find out what it is these zombies want. Martin is somewhat assured because he knows that professional zombie killers are on their way.

What he doesn’t know, is that the ZS is actually just three nerds who live with their parents: one guy and two gals — one of which (Monica) is constantly quoting from the Star Wars films. But not to worry: they have been training for years.

At this point, another subplot starts having to do with the local law enforcement. They, like just about everyone else, believes that they are looking for this serial killer named Martin. The second in command seems like she could do a pretty good job under normal circumstances. But the head of the police is both an idiot and a coward (and a sexual harasser). So even though the police are around for the rest of the film, I won’t mention them because the main difference between them and the audience in the theater is popcorn.

First Zombie Squad Kill
First Zombie Squad Kill

The Zombie Squad Arrives

The ZS arrives and goes to a hardware store to get weapons because they can’t get guns. Of course, even if they flew into the US, they’d still have a 5-day waiting period, and the whole film takes place over 2-3 days. And I don’t see these nerds being able to find guns on the black market. You might disagree but it would be a clear sign of stupidity or mental illness.

However, they do buy fertilizer, so they know how to build bombs. We also see them using pipe bombs, which are trivial to make. I knew how to make them before the internet. But The Anarchist Cookbook[3] was first published in 1971.

So they do the best they can. And because they are nerds, they know where Martin is because of the GPS on the kid’s phone.

Martin Does Research

Martin makes his way to the WWII Museum in an effort to figure what, besides the gold that they now have back, they want. In the process he finds that he is front page news. And let’s not forget that since he got his zombie arm, he has killed three people (doctor, kid, cop). But more on his mind is that he is still devastated by the death of his girlfriend.

And it is not just Martin who has come to the WWII Museum. So have the Nazi zombies — most likely looking for weapons and maps. Conveniently, the museum has a working tank. Martin enters the museum and is immediately recognized by Glenn (Stig Frode Henriksen), who runs the souvenir shop. Martin’s zombie arm makes short work of him and gets him to help out. After the Nazi zombies arrive, he becomes a willing member of the team.

We learn that Hitler personally told Herzog to kill everyone in Talvik because they attacked a German war ship. This is the mission that must be accomplished. But just when we find this out, the Nazi zombies start killing mostly handicapped tourists in the parking lot. This is the first time in the film in which intestines play a big part. They use one victims intestines to siphon gas from a bus to the tank.

We know from early on in the film that Herzog can reanimate the dead. But now he starts doing it to the tourists and Martin finds out. This is not good news! But Martin is forgetting something: he too has a Nazi zombie arm.

Martin and Glenn hide out and the Nazis leave with the tank. The two go outside and Martin says that he can now control his zombie arm. They find a character called “Sidekick Zombie” (Kristoffer Joner) who has been left dead. Martin reanimates him. But it is only for the first time. He is used for gruesome comic relief throughout the rest of the film. He is killed and reanimated by Martin many times.

He’s the sweetest zombie you ever saw. And then a hatchet flies in from off screen, hitting him in the face and killing him again.

The Zombie Squad Joins the Fight

This is because the ZS has arrived. Their leader, Daniel (Martin Starr), threw the ax, and is very proud, getting a picture taken of his first zombie kill. Martin is disappointed that the Zombie Squad turned out to be just 3 nerds from America. The other two are Monica (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Blake (Ingrid Haas). When Martin reanimates Sidekick Zombie, Monica says, “The Force is strong with this one.”

They all make a team, however. Daniel did research on his trip and found out that a bunch of Soviet POWs were forced to build a road near there and then they were all killed. So they come up with the idea of reanimating all the Russians and then fighting the Nazis — their own little WWII.

Daniel drives Martin and Sidekick Zombie to where the Russians were buried. Meanwhile, Monica, Blake, and Glenn go on a mission to slow down the Nazi zombie hoard.

Up to now, this has been a fairly detailed description of the plot. But it is hard to continue this. So much happens that doesn’t much matter. The police — especially the police chief (Christian Rubeck) — just stand around and avoid any danger. (Much like American police officers!) And the Nazi zombies kill a lot of people but not in very interesting ways.

The main aspect of this part of the movie is the two ZS women and Glenn doing their best to stop the Nazis. And they do a good job, but then it appears that Herzog manages to kill them. But remember: this is a movie.

Martin Raises the Russian Zombies: 'Master!'
Martin Raises the Russian Zombies: “Master!”

Enter the Russians

The boys on their way to get the Russians get their car stuck. They use Sidekick Zombie to get them unstuck. This is played for laughs. But I have to say: Sidekick Zombie is probably my favorite character in the film and I find it cruel. There are worse things than death. And even though Sidekick Zombie is reanimated afterward, what does it matter? He clearly suffered great pain in getting the car unstuck.

They finally make it to where the Russians must have been buried. Martin doesn’t know what to do. But his arm does. He smashes the ground and the Russian zombies rise up. Their leader Stavarin (Derek Mears — he’s 6'5" with over 100 film credits) walks up to Martin who is clearly afraid. Stavarin is a good head taller than Martin. And Stavarin says, “Master.” And Martin responds the way we all would, “Fuck yeah.”

Yeah, send the gay guy to lead the zombies to the ambush!
Yeah, send the gay guy to lead the zombies to the ambush!

Stand-Off in Talvik

By the time the Nazis reach Talvik, Martin and company are already there. (We must assume that the Russian graveyard was much closer to Talvik.) Not only that, they’ve had time to evacuate the now 2,000 people who live in Talvik. Martin tells Herzog that he should just go back to his ice home because he can’t complete his mission. The Nazis are still feeling pretty cocky. Herzog starts laughing and then all the Nazis start laughing. But then Martin introduces them to his 50 Russian zombies.

Martin says, “Don’t you just hate it when someone who was supposed to be dead comes back to kill you?”

All the laughing stops. Who won World War II? The Soviet Union won World War II. Americans may not realize that, but it’s true. And a mini-WWII starts in a park.

The police show up, but smartly decide to stay in their cars. Stavarin, the Russian leaders, kills zombie after zombie as he makes his way to Herzog.

Tank Battle

Martin tells Daniel to go after the tank after it squashes the police car.

Stavarin and Herzog fight for a long time, but the Russian is huge and he is easily winning. And then he is stabbed in the back by another Nazi zombies, because you know how Nazis are — alive or dead.

The Second Unit Arrives!

The second unit (Monica, Blake, and Glenn) show up! They weren’t killed!

But then Monica has a realization: if they kill Herzog, all the Nazi zombies will die because they are bound to him as the Russians are to Martin. (I know: cheap writing; if you have to say it, you’re doing it wrong.) But this results in a long fight between Martin and Herzog.

Meanwhile, Daniel takes over the tank, and Glenn tries to admit that he is gay, but gets killed before he can. (Helpful advice: admit who you are. If you are gay, we welcome you; if you are Nazi zombies we will crush your skulls).

Finally, the tank crashes through the house Martin and Herzog are fighting in. But instead of being crushed, they continue to fight on the tank. Eventually the tank stops and it looks like Herzog is going to win. but Daniel points the tank’s gun at Herzog’s head and blows it off.

You know why you lost the war? You got greedy.
“You know why you lost the war? You got greedy.”

Epilogue

Everyone rejoices. Martin leaves and goes to where his girlfriend is buried. He digs her up and reanimates her. Then the two of them make passionate love in Martin’s car.

Some time later, Sidekick Zombie catches up with them and watches from afar.

Tag

The Nazi doctor finds Herzog’s head. It’s eyes open, implying that he will repair him. See Problems below.

What Critics Say

Overall, critics liked the film okay. They didn’t love it. They didn”t appreciate it the way it was supposed to be. But mostly, they didn’t pan it. And that’s saying something because one of the foundations of this site is that critics are some of the stupidest people on the planet. The reason that it didn’t get any really bad reviews was because even critics aren’t stupid enough to notice that the film is parodying the genre.

Dennis Harvey of Variety noted that while the first film built up to its over-the-top gore, Dead Snow: Red vs Dead starts at the end of it. “Thus, the original’s gradual buildup toward inspired outrageousness is replaced by immediately full-on gore-horror comedy in a broader, dumber Troma-style vein.” The Troma reference is a low-blow. Yes, other people make horror/spatter comedies.[4] Who cares? But actually, the gore as comedy was used more in the first film.

Of course Harvey is the exception of “critical” opinion. I can’t find a review of his of the first film. So I wonder if he even saw it and rather just read a plot summary. Overall, the “critics” liked Dead Snow: Red vs Dead a lot more than they did the original. And that makes me think that they really didn’t get the first film. That’s one of my biggest complaints against film “criticism.” “Critics” see the film once and write a review of it. Other than reviews of live performances, I don’t know of any kind of criticism that works this way.

So if the critics of Dead Snow had been able to see the film two or three times, they probably would have liked it more. In the case of Dead Snow: Red vs Dead, they got a chance to effectively see the film twice and — Oh my God! — on the second viewing they got it!

Critical Nationalism

The worst thing about the reviews were the constant references to Evil Dead 2. I see some reference to it, but not nearly as much as these “critics” do. One even called Sam Raimi a “master of the genre.” Sam Raimi hasn’t even directed many of these films. He did Evil Dead, which was fine. But then he made Evil Dead 2, which is just a remake that shows he learned a bit about directing and had a bigger budget. And finally he made Army of Darkness, which is just pure comedy. The horror is incidental. Sam Raimi is not that talented a director. I prefer Bruce Campbell to be honest. And he is nowhere near the caliber of Don Coscarelli.

So these American “critics” comparing Tommy Wirkola unfavorably to Sam Raimi sounds a lot like pure nationalism. Maybe these critics should be writing for National Review and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.

Analysis

There’s something more. The film starts off with something of a serious observation. When Martin wakes up in the hospital, he finds that the police think that he killed his friends. That does make sense. I can imagine the Nazi zombies collecting their own bodies. That’s what armies do, right? So it really does look like Martin is guilty. Lucky for him, the rural Norwegian police are not used to dealing with serial killers and Martin gets away. What’s more, because of his Nazi arm, he ends up becoming an actual serial killer.

At the same time, there are many things in the film that are ham-handed. In particular, the plot wouldn’t make much sense without clumsy expositions numerous times during the film. For example, when all seems lost, Monica the Star Wars quoting Zombie Squad member says, “Wait! We have to kill him [Nazi commander]! They’re all bound to him like the Russians are to you. If he dies, the others will too.” If only she had realized that a half hour earlier, we could have skipped so much nonsense and death.

But the truth is, there is no reason for her to conclude that. They just killed the Nazi commander. It didn’t cause all the Russians to die. They would apparently require Martin to die. So it’s just a little exposition to provide a resolution for the film. It is, in other words, bad screenwriting.

But it doesn’t matter. When a film is working the silly zone, it can’t really go wrong. Awkward exposition, bad jokes, inexplicable plot devices: it all works to the film’s advantage. But even if none of it worked, we’d always have Nazi zombies. And that’s worth looking at, kid.

Dead Snow: Red vs Dead - Why You Must Watch This Film

What to Watch For

Unless you are squeamish, I don’t see how you can help but to love this film. Vegar Hoel is so compelling playing Martin. He’s the ultimate hero because he’s a total badass at the same time that he’s scared out of his mind. I will be looking for anything that he’s in. Dead Snow was really his first big film, and he only had one really great scene where he saws off his arm and cauterizes it. Sadly, after his fantastic performance in Dead Snow: Red vs Dead, he’s done a lot of work, but mostly in television. And not a lot of Norwegian television makes it to America.

But there is more than enough in this film to delight the lowbrow and highbrow alike.

Lowbrow Goodies

It’s hard to list everything worth noting in this film. It has a lot in common with the early Peter Jackson films, but the execution is much better. (That’s not a slight of Jackson; technologies evolve and Tommy Wirkola had much more to work with.)

  • Intestines: both Dead Snow films do more with intestines than I ever thought possible. Dead Snow: Red vs Dead is not as fascinated with them as the first, but there is still more than enough.
  • Good-guy Martin constantly being defeated by his Nazi zombie arm.
  • The truck driver giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the zombie leader but having trouble because the smell of his rotted flesh is so terrible.
  • Excessive gore.
  • Tank rolls over two police cars.
  • The arm switching
  • I’ve already mentioned it, but it’s too great: siphon gas from a bus to tank using one man’s intestines. That alone is worth the whole film.
  • The use of Sidekick Zombie to get the car unstuck from the snow. I must admit that I didn’t particularly like this scene. I see its brilliance. But truthfully, they could have used Sidekick Zombie in a less horrible way.
  • Zombie sex!

Highbrow Goodies

There are clearly a lot of elements of Dead Snow: Red vs Dead that are adult in nature. But it is explicitly a comedy. I wouldn’t even call it a horror comedy, because there is so little horror in it. Perhaps a better name for it is “splatter comedy,” but that’s more true of Dead Snow than its sequel. I think it is a film for adults who still enjoy The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.

Just the same, I fear that Americans in particular will miss some of the more important aspects of the film. We tend to think of World War II as involving Germany, the UK, the US, the USSSR, Japan, and France. But the Nazis were a lot more busy than that. They secured control of Norway in June of 1940. And they remained in control of the country for five years. Norway did not have a large Jewish population, but about a third of them were sent to concentration camps outside Norway. Others were simply murdered by the the Nazis. And some lucky Jews managed to flee to Sweden and the UK. But remember, at that time, fleeing to these countries was not the escape it appears today.

And even though Americans tend to leave the Soviet Union out of history books when it comes to Word War II, it was the Soviets who freed Norway from the Nazis. As was official policy of the Nazi government, the Nazis used a scorched earth approach to their retreat: stealing any valuables they could and destroying everything else. When I say this, I don’t mean to imply that the Soviet Union was a great and humanitarian country, although I’m not at all sure the people were worse off under Gorbachev than they are under Putin. But my main gripe is that Americans do not generally know how important the Soviets were to defeating the Germans and Japan, just because we don’t like them.

  • Shows that the Russians were the ones who liberated Norway. The rest of the Allies didn’t show up until the Nazis had been expelled.
  • The police officer in the hospital acts the way cops always do: thinking they have everything figured out based on little evidence.
  • Demonstrates that a man can love a woman, even when she’s dead.
  • Clever device to switch the arms between Martin and Herzog, allowing the whole film to exist.
  • Sidekick Zombie as a puppy dog. You can’t help but love him.
  • Shows what would really happen after a zombie attack. No one would believe the zombie story so the survivor would be arrested. Indeed, I’m sure the police would still try to arrest him even after seeing a battle between a hundred Nazi and Soviet zombies.

Questions

One should never worry too much about movies making sense. But there are several problems with the film.

The first one has to do with Dead Snow. At the beginning of the film, a woman who we later find out is Sara, is being chased and eventually killed by a Nazi zombie. The first time I saw the film, I didn’t think about it. I assumed that the Nazi zombies were awakened when the medical students found (and stole) their box of treasure. But that’s not the case. There are two Nazi zombie killings before the box is found.

So why doesn’t everyone know that there are Nazi zombies roaming around. And why has no one done anything about it? I know: the point of the film is to show Vegard (Sara’s boyfriend) dangling from a cliff from a Nazi zombie’s intestines. But really, I think they could have worked the screenplay so that the Nazi treasure reanimated the zombies. It would have made more sense. And they still could have kept the great scene with The Wanderer (Bjørn Sundquist). (Actually, I think that scene could have been expanded; Bjørn Sundquist is great!)

The second problem has to do with the tag where the Nazi doctor finds Herzog’s head, still alive. This was clearly place in the film so they could produce Dead Snow: Zombie Love. But it makes no sense. First, a tank fires at your head, it doesn’t just decapitate you. It turns your head into about a million little bits. But okay, I can accept that. What I can’t accept is how the Nazi doctor is still alive given that the whole point of the ending of Dead Snow: Red vs Dead was if Herzog died, all the other Nazis he controlled would be dead.

Also, if Herzog is still alive, why did the other Nazi zombies die.

These are the kind of questions you ask when you’ve watched a film way too many times! But admit it: you’re glad I have.

Trivia

Dead Snow was shot in Norwegian. For the US release of the DVD, they dubbed it into English. It is probably the best dubbing job I have ever seen. I suspect that most people would not even know it was dubbed if they had not been told. I think next week, my blog post will be on dubbing. Unlike most film lovers, I think dubbing is great if it is done correctly. Having to read subtitles while watching a film is a total pain.

For Dead Snow: Red vs Dead, the film was shot in both Norwegian and English. Unfortunately, the US DVD only includes the English version. I would love to see the Norwegian version and compare the scenes. I’ll work on it. If I can do it I will add it to this article and also probably create a blog post for it.

Afterword

Writer-director Tommy Wirkola is thinking about making a third film. I’ll leave it to you to decide if it is a good idea. He said:

As you know, [Martin] has a woman now, so we can deal with that. Maybe he has half-zombie kids. We haven’t seen half-zombies. We talked about opening the next film showing a zombie birth and it being the worst birth ever.

Also, of course, we find out at the end of the credits to Dead Snow: Red vs Dead that the Nazi commander’s head is still undead. So sure: there’s a film in there. It’s just a question of whether this second outing didn’t reach peak silly and that anything more would drift into tediousness. I will stay optimistic.

Update: since Tommy Wirkola has become a big-time Hollywood director, and I’ve heard nothing more from him, it appears a third Dead Snow will not be made.

Technical Information

Information about the movie itself:

  • Release date: January 2014
  • Length: 100 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Film: color
  • Language: Norwegian and English (two versions
  • Location: Iceland and Norway.

Obviously, so many more people are involved in the making of a film. And it is particularly hard in this film given it was made by northern European production companies. But here are some of the most important people behind it:

  • Director: Tommy Wirkola
  • Producers: Terje Strømstad and Kjetil Omberg
  • Screenwriters: Tommy Wirkola, Stig Frode Henriksen, and Vegar Hoel
  • Cinematographer: Matthew Weston
  • Camera operators: Mathis Ståle Mathisen (Norway), Hans Kristian Riise (Iceland?)
  • Editor: Martin Stoltz
  • Composer: Christian Wibe
  • Actors: Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas, and several others.
Frank Moraes (20 September 2016)

Footnotes

[1] Note that a prequel for The Thing could have been great. The original film is set up for it. Better would have been a sequel given the wonderful uncertain ending of the film.

[2] This will probably be the first DVD that I will release with commentary and extras given I can get a fine quality version, and I have a huge amount of stuff to discuss about this film. But don’t hold your breath; I plan to spend the next two years building an audience. It’s a great film. As Michael Weldon put it, “An end-of-the-world vampire/zombie thriller with an undeserved bad rep.”

[3] I do not advocate violence. What’s more, my understanding is that the book has a lot of misinformation that harm or even kill you.

[4] Troma is a film distribution company that that specializes in low budget horror. They made, for example, Zombiegeddon. I have no doubt that Troma would have distributed either of the Dead Snow movies and that no one at the company thinks their films are better. But the “critic” who made the comment was more interested in showing off his knowledge (which would be know mostly by insiders, but I guess since Variety is a trade paper that’s okay) than discussing the film seriously

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *