Overview: This is the only World War Z I’m concerned about. The sole survivor of Herzog’s Nazi Zombie battalion must team up with an American group of zombie hunters to stop their invasion of Norway. Well Go USA Entertainment; 2014; Rated R; 100 minutes.
It’s About Time: Unabashedly grotesque and ultimately successful in its objective, Dead Snow was a zombietastic good time. If there’s one drawback about the film, it’s that it doesn’t commit enough to the ludicrous idea of Nazi Zombies. And that’s where the sequel comes in. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead is everything I craved from the original with an even broader canvas of mayhem.
More Zombies, More Problems: The sequel starts immediately after the first film with Martin barely escaping after chopping off his own arm, now repaying Colonel Herzog by separating the Nazi Zombie from his own appendage. After waking up in a hospital, Martin finds that the doctors mistakenly replaced his arm with Herzog’s. Herzog begins a zombie invasion of Northern Norway, attempting to complete a mission assigned to him during World War II.
Like most sequels, Dead Snow 2 is much bigger than its predecessor. Instead of a cabin in the mountains, the entirety of Northern Norway is in play. Martin’s quest for vengeance is one that is more cartoonish than the first. The American zombie squad worked far better than expected. There’s a certain uncomfortableness in the constant Star Wars references from one of the members, but I was worried they were only in the film to appease American audiences. (They probably were. That doesn’t mean they can’t be effective.)
A step up from the first is the use of dark humor and visual effects. None of the characters were really likable in the first outing, so it’s a welcome change of pace to really root for these new protagonists. Martin becomes a true hero in this adventure but is still a total idiot. The gore is increased exponentially (a larger cast and higher body count tend to imply that), but there’s also more attention to the zombies themselves. There’s even a bit of characterization behind Herzog’s motivations this time.
More Everything, More Problems: Because of the expansion to the cast and environments, there are some loose ends on the ankles of Dead Snow 2. There’s a side story with a group of small town police chasing after Martin that never pays off in any meaningful way. It’s nice to give us a breather for a movie that has a fast pace, but they don’t interact with the main story other than to say, “What the fuck?” and make some, admittedly, funny jokes about the answers to all crimes being a seagull translator.
Thank You, Nazi Zombies: Throughout 2014 I’ve seen a handful of horror films, ranging from mediocre to a disgrace to the genre. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead saved the genre for me this year. I will be forever grateful for that.