I’ve reviewed movies about Nazi Zombies before – the ill conceived “Shock Waves“, and “War of the Dead” come to mind, so it’s not like it’s a new concept (even Zombie Lake used the idea.) It’s an idea that you would think would have wild success. Just mention the ideas of Nazis and zombies in the same sentence and you pique the interest of a lot of horror fans. So, if this is such a great combination of two gruesome archetypes, why did it take until 2009’s Død snø (aka Dead Snow) to make a film utilizing Nazi Zombies to this degree of goodness?
The story goes a little something like this: A group of medical students are heading off to a cabin in the mountain to enjoy their Easter break. After enjoying some tubing on the snowy wilderness and some snowmobiling, a wandering hiker comes to their front door in the middle of the night to tell them the legend of the area. You see, some Nazi’s were residing in the Norwegian town during World War 2 so they could pick off supply routes for the British and Russian armies. When the end of the war was near, the Nazis gathered up as much gold and silver as they could before the citizens rallied against them. They wandered up to the mountains where they were never seen again, and were rumored to have frozen to death. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, or else we wouldn’t have a movie. When the vacationers find the gold in storage underneath their cabin, the undead come to claim what they stole, fair and square.
These Nazi zombies aren’t your traditional zombies in the respect that A) they aren’t the old school zombies that shamble, B) they aren’t really all that decayed, C) they don’t need to be killed by destroying the brains, and D) they don’t really seem to be all that occupied by eating their victims. They’re more concerned with getting their property back. Also, from what I could tell, if you’re bitten by them, it doesn’t slowly turn you into one of them. They also use weapons, like knives and the such there wasn’t any use of guns. Does this mean they aren’t really zombies? I don’t know, and I don’t really care, but some zombie purists might have a beef with all that.
The first 45 minutes of the film is a real character building excessive. You learn that one of the students gets sick at the sight of blood, and another is a big movie geek, amongst other things that differentiate the characters (or at least the male characters) from each other. This helps set up the contrast of the last 45 minutes of the movie as a total over the top orgy of zombies and gore that doesn’t take itself too seriously. You can tell that the makers of this film were big Evil Dead fans, as they pay homage to it in a few of their quick cuts throughout the movie.
My only real complaint against this movie is that I wish it would have had a more serious horror tone. Once you see a guy’s head get torn in half by a pair of zombie claws, and his brain falls out and splatters on the floor, you know that this is going into some Braindead territory. Either way, this is a fun movie, and while it might not scare you – it’s entertaining as hell. If you enjoy seeing people hang over cliff faces by another’s intestines, or seeing someone get all their limbs torn off at once, then you’ll enjoy the type of gore Dead Snow provides. I counted no less than 6 disembowelments in the movie… I think that’s gotta be a record of some kind. Dead Snow finally lives up to the hype of Nazi zombies in grand fashion, and gets 4.5 Nazi treasures out of 5.