Tommy Wirkola

Dead Snow 2

It will be a long time before I forget the evening at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival when a crowd of bloodthirsty festival-goers climbed the Main Street hill up to the Egyptian Theater for a midnight premiere of Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow. We were promised a snow-covered landscape soaked in blood, the carnage created by an undead Nazi brigade. In the end, the excitement never quite paid off in the form of a good movie. As I explained in my review, the first Dead Snow was somewhat of a letdown. But the concept was great, so seeing the same filmmaking team try again with Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead isn’t something that bothers me. In late January 2014, Wirkola will travel back to Park City for another round of Nazi zombie reverie. And just as it was five years ago, I can imagine that there will be some very excited, very winded travelers drinking spiked hot cider when the opening credits roll. For now, the rest of us can enjoy this wonderfully done first trailer.

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Seeing Septuple

The threat of overpopulation (and the strange-yet-potentially-necessary child-limiting laws that follow) are already a part of today’s terrifyingly modern world. So it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a future time where the entire Earth is regulated with a strict “one baby per set of babymakers” policy. That’s the idea behind What Happened to Monday, a new science fiction film that’s just been reported (by Deadline Hollywood) to have cast Noomi Rapace in its lead role. Or, to put it more precisely, its seven lead roles. Rapace will be playing a set of septuplets who have to keep themselves concealed from society, as their very existence is a great big no-no in the film’s future world. Director Tommy Wirkola states that he originally intended Monday‘s multiple protagonists to be male, but when considering to the complexities of playing so many separate roles, “Noomi was the ideal actor – male or female – to bring them to life,” which is something fairly refreshing to hear these days.

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hansel and gretel witch hunters 04

The other day I received an email from a reader who is quite familiar with Tommy Wirkola’s background. He tells me that, while at film school, the director pitched something with the title “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and received the following response from a professor: “never mention it again before you’re standing in front of Hollywood executives.” Even if the story is embellished at all (our reader says it was in the Norwegian press), it’s a perfect prologue for the fairy tale-like fantasy of the film industry and a harsh set up for the sad truth about million-dollar ideas. Wirkola did wind up in Hollywood and has made a feature called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Of course he did, because it’s the sort of title that goes a long way in the business. The only pitch necessary is in those four words — we have well-known characters and a simple premise all spelled out right there. But just because it’s a genuinely clever concept and, more importantly, an easily sellable product, that doesn’t make it a movie worth seeing. Wirkola never gives us anything more creative than those four words, unfortunately, and even worse, he directs his unimaginative script with so little care and spirit that you’d think he hadn’t been sitting on this project for so many years.

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Remake Star Wars

If you already have low expectations for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, you might not be interested in seeing the first film by Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola. It won’t exactly do much for your interest in the new action-infused fairy tale. But if you’re like me and are fascinated by the calling card short films of Hollywood moviemakers, you’ll want to check out Remake. Anyway, it’s under seven minutes, so you’re not wasting too much time. The short was produced in Australia in 2006, and Wirkola shares helming duties on the film with Kit McDee (who has his own action feature with the word “hunters” in it out this year called The Hunters Club Movie). They both also co-star as hotel desk clerks (or owners?) who offer guests homemade Betamax videos featuring cheap remakes of popular movies (Titanic, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Scream and Deep Throat are among the titles we see). Basically these movies have been “sweded,” although Remake was made before Be Kind Rewind, which coined that term and popularized the concept.

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

While we may often joke about the provenance of many films that Hollywood churns out, truth be told, there are few projects that leave me scratching my head as much as Tommy Wirkola‘s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Surely, someone, somewhere, was itching for this tale of grown-up fairy tale kids turned bounty hunters, but I can’t rightly decide who the hell would conceive of such a thing. Yes, yes, of course Wirkola and co-screenwriter Dante Harper had the idea first, but the whole thing sounds like such a ludicrous pitch that it’s boggling that they weren’t laughed out of the room. It’s Hansel. And Gretel. Grown-up. As bounty hunters. And it sort of looks like 300. Sure? However the hell this thing got the screen, the film is finally being released later this month, so let’s all ponder its origins with a new red band trailer that, at this point, seems pretty tame.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

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! Synopsis: 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.

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Everybody has heard the old fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. It’s a story about two little German children, a cannibal witch with a taste for tender flesh, a ginger bread house, and a blazing hot industrial oven. One question most people probably have never asked, however, is what happens after the story ends. Well director/co-writer of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), did ask that question, and what he decided is that those little scamps probably “got a taste for witch blood” and grew up to be leather-clad badasses who hunt down witches with their extensive knowledge of kung fu and never-ending arsenal of futuristic firepower.

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Did you ever wonder what might have happened to fairy tale characters Hansel and Gretel 15 years after that fateful day when they pushed a witch into an oven? No, neither did I. But director Tommy Wirkola and his co-screenwriter Dante Harper did, so now we’re getting the new action film Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the titular duo. That’s a ridiculous idea, so scoff if you must, but I’m starting to think this movie might actually do pretty well. We’ve already written about how awesome it is that Peter Stormare is set to play the villain of this piece, and now Entertainment Weekly has revealed the first official image from the film, which has Renner and Arterton all butched up in black leather with big guns (check out the full photo after the break), and they’re throwing around buzz words like “dark” and “violent” in the accompanying interview. All the talk of darkness and grittiness isn’t just casual though, it’s hammered home in a way that suggests they’ve been instructed by the studio to push how decidedly not for kids this movie is going to be. Arterton told EW, “You see a series of flashbacks with their experience of killing that first witch, which is brilliant. I remember being on set for the final few days of that. The candy house, and the witches are really repulsive and quite frightening. The make-up is out of this world. It’s this bone-chilling scene. Very […]

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hanselandgretelwitchhunters

Dead Snow director Tommy Wirkola is still on the warpath, working on his next film, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. And he’s bringing on a David Fincher-approved screenwriter to help.

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tommy-wirkola

Tommy Wirkola sat down with us to talk about his much buzzed about Nazi zombie opus.

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deadsnow-1

IFC Films has released the first domestic trailer for the upcoming Nazi zombie horror film Dead Snow, from director Tommy Wirkola. Yes, I said Nazi zombies. How does that make you feel?

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hanselandgretelwitchhunters

Norwegian writer/director Tommy Wirkola has been working with producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell on a new project with some old school characters — doing some badass new things.

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hanselandgretelwitchhunters

According to Dead Snow director Tommy Wirkola, Hansel and Gretel escaped being eaten by a witch, grew bitter about it, and grew up to hunt black hats down with shotguns.

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deadsnow-1

Of all the films that I went to see at Sundance this year, I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that the majority of you are most interested in hearing my thoughts about Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow. Call me crazy, but the idea of Nazi Zombies attacking unsuspecting young people in the snowy mountains of Norway just has a certain charm.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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