‘Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead’ - Zombie Movie Review
Do you remember the humorous gag of the hammer and the sickle that I loved in Dead Snow? Well, Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead is basically a massive development of that same idea. Russian undead soldiers against Nazi zombies.
The first thing that Dead Snow 2 does is learn from its mistakes. Unlike its first part, this sequel, from the very beginning, is ball-to-the-walls bonkers fun. There’s no need to build the myth or to extensively introduce the characters. If you’re watching Dead Snow 2, you know there are some zombie Nazis hanging around in Denmark. What more do you need to know? That’s it.
The story centers on Martin (Vegar Hoel), the only survivor of the first movie. Even with his severed arm, he has managed to miraculously escape in his car from a final attack by Standartenführer Herzog, after hitting him with a truck coming in the opposite direction. Herzog loses his arm, that is now inside Martin’s car. Martin ends up crashing the car.
And, of course, in an implausible, idiotic and wonderful twist, the town doctors have reattached the arm (the Herzog one) to Martin. Now Martin has the arm of a legendary demonic villain. And that arm, of course, acts on its own and puts Martin in serious trouble.
From here on, Dead Snow 2 begins to show that there are no moral limits to its dark humor. Against the will of poor Martin, Herzog’s diabolical arm throws a little boy named Bobby out of a window. When Martin tries to revive him with CPR, the ultra-powerful arm destroys his ribcage. The guilty laughs condemn us to hell, but they undoubtedly make our lives happy.
For the sequel, Tommy Wirkola, already a recognized name in Hollywood (after having written and directed the surprise hit Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), decided to change the language of the film for the universal English. He also recruited some American actors to further give that US comedy touch.
And that mix between Hollywood idiocy and the cruel and dark humor of the Norwegian is almost perfect.
The Americans arrive in the form of the (much older) friends of Bobby, the murdered kid. A trio of geeks self-proclaimed as The Zombie Squad who have a website of conspiracies about zombie outbreaks. After talking to Martin, Daniel (Martin Starr, of Freaks & Geeks and Silicon Valley fame), Monica (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Ingrid Haas (Blake) decide to go to Norway to investigate further. Yes, the plot doesn’t make much sense, but it works perfectly in this context.
The Nazi zombies have abandoned the icy mountains and are slowly slaughtering the population of the small towns they encounter. Our “heroes” conclude that the Nazis, already revived by the insolence of the theft of their loot in the first film, have decided to complete the last mission entrusted by Hitler before they died: Exterminate the entire population of the town of Talvik. For this, they raided a World War II museum, stole a tank and filled its fuel container by siphoning oil using human intestines. Awesome.
Martin has also discovered that his evil arm (which he can now control) is capable of reviving the dead, who will end up at his command.
And that’s when the idea that gives the film its name comes from. Daniel proposes to revive dozens of Russian POWs executed by Herzog during the war to even the odds.
What's Your Rating For Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead?
As you can see, the scheme of Dead Snow 2 seems to say to itself, “did you accept my plot in Dead Snow, huh? Perfect, now things are really gonna get crazy”.
And it works. It has been years since a horror comedy made me laugh out this loud. The movie cares little about ethical values and political correctness. And it makes sense. After all, Nazi zombies are the enemy. There can be no limits in their acts of brutality.
And this is how the cruelty of some Nazi Zombies (remember, they are Nazis first, then Zombies) is masterfully transformed into our entertainment: Cruelty with the disabled, innocents being butchered without compassion and even tanks exploding babies. Dead Snow 2 is so well fixed in its absurd comedy of horror that the laughter comes out without a shred of guilt.
At times, the film revels in his full freedom and even allows itself to be cocky. At some point, Daniel tells Martin that “you’ve created a whole new genre here, man”, which is also a comment about the popularity of the saga (and the new sub-genre of nazi-zombies) claimed by Wirkola.
Dead Snow 2 is the dream sequel. The greatest sentimental inspiration, Raimi’s Evil Dead, is evident. The film works perfectly like the Evil Dead 2 of this saga; more frenetic, more bloody, more over-the-top, more entertaining. And a far better movie than the first one.
Title: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Release Year: 2014
Director(s): Tommy Wirkola
Actors: Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr, a.o.
© 2019 Sam Shepards