Friday, June 13, 2014

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead (2014): Nazi Zombies - Excessive Edition

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead
dir: Tommy Wirkola

SIFF 2014 Film #14

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead is the sequel to the Nazi zombie cabin-in-the-woods horror comedy out of Scandanavia. Dead Snow was a clever meta take on the genre, which poked loving fun at the cabin in the woods formulas as well as the zombie formula, all the while maximizing the horror, the comedy and the gore. Dead Snow was clever, hilarious, and witty, especially since it came before Cabin in the Woods (unlike Zombeavers).

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead smartly abandons everything that made Dead Snow what it was. A straight continuation from the final moments of Dead Snow, Dead Snow 2 moves out of the mountains and into the lowlands. The lone survivor, Martin, now down one arm, is chased by the Nazi zombies who cling to his car. But, because he had a spare coin in his pocket, they come after him again. And, in a series of incidents, Herzog (the lead Nazi) also loses his right arm, before Martin's car goes flying off a cliff into the hinterlands.

The hospital that found Martin attached Herzog's arm to Martin, and Herzog attached Martin’s severed arm, thus forming the basis for the feud. With Herzog's zombie arm, Martin achieves zombie super strength, and both have the ability to resurrect dead people to form zombie armies. To further complicate matters, Martin is joined by the Zombie Squad, a group of adult geeks whose whole life is wrapped up in the zombie culture, and they desire to kill zombies.

Herzog had initially been on a task from Hitler to take over a town, now is going to finish up his mission and march on the town again. Stopping by a museum to grab a tank and some weapons, he continues on his march. Martin, however, also hit the museum, and decides to resurrect Russians to combat the Nazis, thus recreating WWII in zombie terms. You have the Americans, you have the Russians, the locals, and the Nazis.

The wit in Dead Snow 2 isn't in the reuse or meta parody of horror or horror comedy tropes. The wit stems from Dead Snow 2’s willingness to go as far as possible as frequently as possible. There are instances of comedic cruelty to zombies, and the violence and gore factor of Dead Snow 2 is constantly as far over the top as you can imagine. From dead kids to smashed heads to intestines a plenty, Dead Snow 2 never says no to a drop of blood in the film.

Coming in at 100 minutes, Dead Snow 2 doesn't feel bloated at all. Just about the time you’re wanting the final battle to kick in, the final battle does kick in. The developments and pacing come in swift, and Dead Snow 2 feels more like an ode to Peter Jackson originality than Sam Raimi parody. Dead Snow 2 has more in common with Dead Alive than with Evil Dead, even keeping the sardonic cruel wit that Peter Jackson brought to his early work.

Dead Snow 2 isn't a dumb movie. It’s smart and witty and trashy and just about the perfect midnight movie. It doesn't run too long. It doesn't let its pacing drag, keeping the audience from falling asleep. The violence and gore factor are over the top. It's quite brilliant in how clever it actually is.

Required Viewing.

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