Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dead Snow

I'd heard a lot of great things about this movie, so when a group of us gathered to watch it last night, my hopes were high.

Alas, the film did not live up to them.

The box certainly made it look promising: A Norwegian Nazi zombie movie with plenty of action and gore. The movie began in classic fashion: lone woman in the woods being chased and losing to the shadows we assumed would later prove to be zombies. One problem surfaced right away, however: the shadows were fast, wicked fast.

I have to pause now to confess what some would call a bias but what I believe is simply a truth: zombies should not be fast. They should shamble. Period. They shouldn't organize, use tools, run, fly helicopters, plan, or exhibit anything other than a relentless, never-ending urge to kill and eat the living. What makes zombies so fascinating to so many of us is that they personify the death that is always shambling straight ahead, that you can put off for a while but never fully stop.

So, you can imagine my concern at the speedy shadows.

Then, though, Dead Snow switched back to a classic zombie opening: a group of young men and women heading off into the wilderness--in this case a cabin on a Norwegian mountain north of the Arctic circle--with nary a clue as to the fate that awaits them. The casting was classic, too: the nerdy guy, the fat guy, the jerk, the pretty blond, etc.

As the movie wore on, however, it could never come to peace with itself. One minute serious, the next archly comical; sticking with zombie traditions, then violating them violently--Dead Snow wandered all over the place.

To be fair, some of the wanderings were amusing--who knew intestines were strong enough to support two men hanging from them?--and others were gross in new ways (sex while in the middle of number two? really?), so it kept us interested.

Maybe the filmmakers were out to create their own new sort of zombie flick, but when the movie was over I wished they had never even called it a zombie film. Call it a dead Nazi movie, and let it roll.

Overall, I enjoyed it, and if you're a zombie fan, you must watch it, but I had hoped for more.

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