They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge (unless you count that time Nathan Adams was double dog dared to eat Nazi-flavored snow), so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy!
What could possibly be worse than a zombie attack? A zombie attack where all of the undead are racists, that’s what. And that’s exactly what eight Norwegian med students stumble into when they take a trip out to the mountains for some leisurely skiing and instead find themselves face-to-face with hordes of undead Nazis who have returned from their graves to avenge a WWII-era villager revolt. The girl with the dreadlocks better watch herself. I bet they take her first.
Dead Snow’s blood soaked third act pretty much serves as an extended killer scene in and of itself, so let’s pick one from earlier in the film. The first big zombie attack, when our vacationers finally figure out that something evil really is afoot, is a doozy. It’s typical, arms-reaching-through-the-windows-of-the-cabin-to-grab-at-you zombie stuff, but one guy gets his skull ripped in half and his brain falls out onto the kitchen floor. You don’t see that every day.
For a movie about a co-ed vacation, Dead Snow is surprisingly sexless. On the way out to the cabin the guys chat about how far the girls are going to be willing to go, but then nobody gets date-rapey in the slightest. Must be a Norwegian thing. There is one sex scene 38 minutes in, but it’s the bra-on kind. You know, the worst kind.
The thing that makes Dead Snow a worthwhile horror pick is just how violent it is. That guy getting his head ripped in half and having his brain fall on the floor? That’s just the beginning. Blood gushes, spurts, and splatters all throughout the second half of this film. And once the kids gear up with weapons and become resolved to take the Nazi-zombies on full force at the end? That’s when an already graphic and gory movie goes completely over the top with the blood-lettings and mutilations and completely devolves into so-gross-it’s-actually-pretty-fun territory.
The first half of this movie has some decent scares in it. The mood is set early on by a chase sequence/death scene, and then the film reaches a high point when a grizzled and mysterious stranger shows up on our protagonists’ door step and regales them with a Jaws-esque monologue that introduces them to the dangers of the Nazi-zombie. It’s all very moody and unnerving. The scares take a back seat in the second half of the film though, as things get so violent that the movie just gets too fun to be scary. At that point you’re likely to be cheering more than covering your eyes. Which is still fun. So quit complaining.
If the promise of over the top violence isn’t enough to get you to give Dead Snow a chance, perhaps its unique setting will be the thing that catches your interest. Most horror movies are dark and moody. They set their action in inky shadows. This one is just the opposite. This one is so bright that the image is often washed out, thanks to all of the snow on the ground. The white gives everything a different aesthetic than you get in most horror films, and it works great to highlight splatter.