DEAD SNOW 2
DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD
(Død Snø 2)
As Dead Snow 2 starts in, it feels like it is heading down the same disappointing roads as Wirkolas other films ridiculously conceived scenes that lack any sort of internal believability; lots of fannish in-jokes and reference; and the emphasis at the forefront being black humour and splatter effects. A perfect example of this might be when the Nazi commandant (Ørjan Gamst) spontaneously develops magic hands that allows him to touch anybody who is dead (or even the ground where they are buried) and not only bring them back to life but apparently also resurrect them with an ideological loyalty to the Nazi cause. Things become even more ridiculous when Vegar Hoel, the hero who survived the first film, wakes up in hospital and finds the doctors have sewn the commandants severed arm back on thinking it his lost arm (clearly, an incompetent surgeon who doesnt even notice the difference between necrotic or living tissue before attaching an arm). Vegar Hoel then gets a visit from a young boy (Carl-Magnus Adner) who sees the attached arm the same attached arm that a surgeon saw fit to surgically reattach and deduces that it is a zombie arm and sends a picture to a geek group called Zombie Squad who have apparently been sitting around just waiting for evidence of the existence of zombies in order to go into action. Based on a single cellphone picture send by a young boy, they decide to fly halfway around the world to combat the zombie threat. You can see from this that we have a film that makes no effort whatsoever to pay lip service to any basic notions of credibility. Later scenes have Vegar Hoel finding that the commandants attached arm can raise the dead too but turn them into good guys. The bizarre logic that the film operates on has him resurrecting a troupe of executed Soviets from the World War II era to take on and defeat the Nazi zombies.
All of this demonstrates that Tommy Wirkola has little credible capability as a screenwriter. That said, Dead Snow 2 becomes somewhat more watchable than the first film. For one, it is made with a better budget and more professional polish than its predecessor the gore and splatter effects are particularly well accomplished. The film does get some amusement out of its genre in-jokes. Wirkola doesnt spend the film referencing other zombie and horror films this time. When Vegar Hoel receives his Nazi arm and it starts demonstrating a life of its own, the film seems to be heading in the direction of quoting The Evil Dead II (1987), although this surprisingly turns out not to be the case. There is however the trio of nerds known as Zombie Squad who are constantly making fannish in-jokes, in particular the character played by Joceyln DeBoer who seems to find a way to respond to everything that happens with a Star Wars quote or analogy, which leads to some amusing jokes comparing the Norway they arrive in to Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back (1980), where the ice planet scenes were shot.
Expectedly, Wirkola has a field day with the splatter effects. There is the outrageously entertaining scene where the Nazi zombies tear apart a victim and then use their unravelled intestines to siphon fuel across the courtyard from a bus to get their tank running. There is an equal degree of blackly sarcastic humour to scenes a woman fleeing in a wheelchair topples over and gets her head stomped by zombies; two women fleeing with children in prams are blown up by a shell; after the car is stalled in a snowdrift, the zombie sidekick (Kristoffer Joner) is shoved under the wheels to provide traction. Tommy Wirkola reserves his entertaining best for the blood-soaked showdown between Nazi and Soviet zombies, which comes with absurdly cartoonish images such as the zombie doctor returning downed combatants to the fray by stuffing their spilt innards with straw and replacing severed legs with toilet plungers, or where zombies are killed by their intestines being flung up over a power line and they then fried to death.
(Nominee for Best Makeup Effects at this sites Best of 2014 Awards).