Friday, October 08, 2010

Dead Snow

(2009) ***1/2

Yes, he's using binoculars. He isn't a zombie -- He happens to be dead, but he's still a soldier, and is tactical like a soldier, and fights like one, except super fast and strong. And angry. Technically, that makes him a monster -- and due respect to zombies, monsters are actually way worse.

Undead soldiers with human intelligence, inhuman strength and endurance, and a curse driven desire to beat you to death with whatever's lying around to attack you with. That's a heck of a lot of ingredients to put into your bad guy. It's the kind of thing a seven year old would come up with. I suppose you could call it cartoonish, but Dead Snow is a shade more mature than that. Maybe "operatic" would be a better word.

Don't be misled by the picture though -- there are definitely moments here and there with a sense of pageantry to them, but most of the action is more traditional hand-to-hand. There's a good sense of balance between the rococo and the straightforward when it comes to the action. And while there isn't much happening in Dead Snow that hasn't appeared in earlier films, there's a lot more of everything here, and the ideas feel reinvigorated somehow, and approached from clever angles.

For instance, know what's happening here?

It's a POV shot from someone who's about to get eaten by a bunch of soldiers. A moment later, we get another POV shot, this time from one of the soldiers. In a matter of seconds, you're a human getting eaten, and then you're a monster doing the eating. Has either of those things happened in a zombie movie before? I couldn't say for certain, but I've never seen it, and there they are in the same movie, along with a snowmobile with a machine gun mounted on it, and a head getting ripped in half, and not one, but two instances in which someone is suspended in some way by the tensile strength of intestines, and also there's maybe the most boneheaded error I've ever seen anyone make in a siege defense movie -- all together in one tidy 90 minute package.

If there's a long list somewhere in the director's handwriting entitled "Things that would be awesome to put in a movie," I'd bet almost all of it made it into Dead Snow.


Catfreeek said...

I totally dug this film as well. The cast was great, the gore was intense, so much to love. Undead Nazi monsters, what a concept for a nemesis.

JPX said...

Okay, you've sold me, this sounds great! My only concern was that it would have that shot-on-video look, is this the case? I'm really enjoying your reviews, 50P!

DCD said...

This does sound great. You know, in an undead soldier monster kind of way. And what better way is there?

Excellent review!

Octopunk said...

This sounds great but I'm curious as to why you didn't rate it higher. Was it the rococo?

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I have this one on deck so I'm not going to read your review for now. Stop scooping my movies, jerk!

50PageMcGee said...

JPX -- not to worry. it's shot very well and the video quality is high. cinematography and basic look are really strong with dead snow.

octo -- i dunno. i did ask myself this question. i suppose what it boiled down to is that i just felt like it was "great, fun, worth watching" and not "excellent." not a slight against the movie at all.

actually, it's kind of funny you're asking, because i spent some time thinking, "maybe i should write a paragraph indicating why i'm not giving it four stars" but i really couldn't think of anything, and in the end i figured, "meh, who's even going to ask?"

Whirlygirl said...

I'm glad to hear the quality is good. I almost saw this when it was in the theater. The little cinema next door to my work had a poster of this up and I was immediately taken with it, so the second I got back to work I checked out the trailer, but it looked like it had that shot-on-video look so I said meh. Then last year Cat posted a positive review on it and I was like damn I shouldn't have knocked it so quickly. Now with a second good review, I think I've got to check this out.

DCD said...

I just realized this is in my queue. Kewl.