Ohhhh Horror Community--how I struggle with my relationship with you. Some of your numbers are awesome (please look to Screen Right if you care to visit some of THOSE people's blogs), but the vast unwashed portion that makes up your ranks--plainly put--causes me no end of frustration. Particularly now that Being A Nerd has somehow, in some bizarro universe, become a sign of Ironic Downtown Coolness. I vastly prefer the movie-watching company of overly-caffeinated and enthusiastic teenagers over that of Pubey-Bearded Horror Film Dilettantes and their Idiot Girlfriends.
Isn't it a shame that the latter group has latched on to the ZOMBIE CRAZE specifically with such ill-schooled parrot-like fervor?
So anyway--I'm digressing a bit. Baron XIII and I attended a screening of "Dead Snow" on Friday night in New York City. If you've been avoiding the internet for the past several months, that's the Nazi zombie movie from Norway that had the ginchy-looking and oft-re-blogged trailer. It tells the tale of an ill-fated group of Norwegian college students spending their Easter vacay at an isolated cabin for a little snowy fun. Little do they know that the hills are alive--or undead, as the case may be--with a legion of Nazi zombies on their eternal search for gold. For those who have never seen the "Evil Dead" trilogy, "Dead Alive," and/or "Shaun of the Dead," it's a moderately-amusing gorefest that wastes a good 40 minutes of screen time with lost-in-translation Norwegian teen humor that ultimately delivers enough blood-soaked set pieces to elicit some gross-out laughs.
If, however, you have seen the "Evil Dead" trilogy, "Dead Alive," and/or "Shaun of the Dead," "Dead Snow" wastes a good 40 minutes of screen time with lost-in-translation Norwegian teen humor that ultimately delivers a montage of been-there/done-that grue that will leave you wishing you'd spent the last hour and a half re-watching any one of the aforementioned zombie flicks. Remember how great it was when Ash amputated his arm with a chainsaw? Well, "Dead Snow" gives you that scene all over again, minus Raimi and Campbell! Remember how you pumped your fists with glee during the Lawnmower Scene in "Dead Alive?" Well, "Dead Snow" gives you that scene all over again, only shorter, less extreme, and involving a snowmobile.
Most vexing of all, for me at least, was that there were moments in "Dead Snow" where it could've become a really fun film. The cinematography and effects work are really top-notch and the film looks beautiful--there's a shot early on where a victim is being attacked by one of the zombies inside of a tent that manages to balance creepy and gorgeous. Sadly, the visually striking aspects of the film are overwhelmed by the overly-homage nature of the story and gore scenes. Within the film's universe, the living characters are able to suffer a tremendous amount of physical abuse before succumbing to their wounds--had the story focused on *one* of these characters getting the crap beaten out of him by a horde of the fascist undead, the film could've taken on a cartoon quality that might've been interesting. But watching hordes of the undead (fascist or otherwise) stalk a bunch of college students just feels... stale.
Director Tommy Wirkola was on hand for a Q&A after the film, and he seems like a genuinely enthusiastic, creative type--and that only serves to make my Not-Liking of this film all the more difficult. During the Q&A, he mentioned several ideas for "Dead Snow 2" that sounded like a MUCH better and fresher movie than the one I'd just watched. This session with the director yielded the highlight of the evening for me, however, as I was able to witness the following exchange:
Female Idiot: "So, was the movie--like--based on a real story?"
Wirkola: [after a pregnant pause] "Well, there were Nazis, and they did steal stuff..."
And THAT, dear readers, made it all worth while for me. For the rest of you not-so-blessed with a dumbness-fueled Q&A, just re-watch "Dead Alive" and thank me later.