Friday, July 18, 2014

Mini Review: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead


I will talk to anyone and everyone about the extent of my love for the first Dead Snow.  It's a little slow out of the gate, but it eventually delivers the full-fledged insanity I hoped that it would, while still developing characters I wanted to spend some time with.  It's one of my favorite zombie movies of the past 5 years.  What Tommy Wirkola was able to do on a small budget (roughly $800K) is nothing short of extraordinary.

As I mentioned in my Trailer Talk post, I was very much looking forward to the sequel.  Seeing as how Wirkola's Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters made $225 million on a $50 million budget, he was given a little more money to play with this time around.  It's tough to find exact numbers, but it looks like this film had a budget of around $5.5 million.

As near as I can tell, Wirkola took that money and immediately asked himself, "How can I make this movie crazier than the first?"  The answer, of course, was more.  More characters.  More zombies.  More fights.  More intestines.  More blood.  More deaths.  More weapons.  More laughs.  More insanity.


Daniel (Martin Starr), Blake (Ingrid Haas) and the Star Wars obsessed Monica (Jocelyn DeBoer) - self-appointed members of the Zombie Squad - travel from America to Norway to help Martin Hykkerud (the only survivor of the original) with his Nazi zombie problem.  "We've seen thousands of zombie movies," Daniel proclaims, as if this is enough information for Martin to have complete faith in their zombie-killing acumen.  Martin doesn't seem overly convinced, but put a hammer/shovel/hatchet in their hands, and they're more than willing to prove their worth.  Not to mention the fact that Blake has one of the all-time best zombie killing faces.



Martin had cut off his arm in the previous movie after being bitten.  In a case of mistaken identity (armdentity?), doctors attached a super-strength Nazi zombie arm to Martin.  At first, he found himself at war with it in a way that conjured up memories of Ash.  Eventually he learned to control it and found that he could bring the dead back to life.  Herzog - the leader of the Nazi zombies - has the same ability.  And so, as the trailer shows, we are treated to a massive zombie war: Herzog's zombies vs. Martin's zombies.  It's the kind of scene Wirkola didn't have money to do in the first film, and he's clearly holding nothing back here.  It's terrific.
The Evil Dead remake was a tense, nasty film, but it was clear the filmmakers were having fun as they dumped buckets of blood on the set.  That same feeling of glee is present here, only the events on the screen are much more comical.  Wirkola clearly had a lot of fun trying to think of new ways to kill people, or new ways to use their intestines.  With every new trick, I found myself grinning like an idiot.  I'm sure he was doing the same thing.


There's too much insanity to properly describe here.  If you like buckets of blood, miles of intestines and aren't easily offended, you need to watch this as soon as you can.  Even if you don't like zombie films, you're still likely to enjoy this one.

Rating: 5/5

Added note: I loved the chemistry between Martin and Roy (Stig Frode Henriksen) in the first film, so I was really happy to see Henriksen show up in this one as a different character.


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