Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In short: Dead Snow 2 (2014)

aka Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead

If you, like me, were a little afraid Tommy Wirkola’s sequel to his Nazi zombies in the snow comedy Dead Snow would end up retreading the set pieces of the first film, you can happily run out and watch this, for Wirkola goes for escalation in everything but the now piddling amount of snow while still keeping things in dimensions a comparatively low budget can handle. Dead Snow 2 is really putting the emphasis on the action comedy more than the horror comedy, though with huge dollops of pleasantly ridiculous gore, clearly realizing the first film had done everything there was to do with the more claustrophobic set-ups it used. Wirkola is a wonderful director for this sort of madcap, blood-soaked comedy action – he’s got the timing down as well as your favourite director of classic Hong Kong martial arts cinema had, and he knows how to include millions of dumb sight gags in an action scene without distracting too much from the rest of what’s going on in it.

The humour is again of a mostly low-brow, rather ruthless style that will go wherever a gory joke might lead it: if any given scene set-up will result in the question “will the film really go there?” it is most certainly going to.

Quite against my usual tastes, this approach works rather well for me in Dead Snow 2’s case, with hardly a minute going by that doesn’t at least provoke a snort – unless it provokes a groan, or the always lovely combination of both. Because this is that sort of film, there are also movie quotes that turn into inversions of the source material, American zombie hunters who are competent and ridiculous nerds and seem to be written by someone who has never met an actual American nerd in his life, a single tank (I said the budget must still have been rather low), and a climactic brawl between Nazi zombies and Soviet Russian soldiers, like the bloodiest Spencer/Hill film Italian exploitation cinema should have made.

Like everything else directed by Wirkola I’ve seen, Dead Snow 2 is fast, fun, silly and charming as hell, and while I understand why some people really can’t stand his films, I am rather happy I do.

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