Just as I was tiring of zombie movies, two have come along recently to show there’s still life left in the genre: “Pontypool” and “Dead Snow.” Whereas the former broke new ground by aiming for the mind, the Norwegian “Dead Snow” goes for the gut — first to punch you, then to tickle you.
At first, it seems to be nothing special: Two carfuls of young men and women venture into the snowy Alps for a ski weekend. Their first night of partying is interrupted by an unexpected visitor, in the form of an old man who tells them of the Nazi atrocities that took place there during World War II.
They write him off and go back to bacchanalia, until the members who venture off to potty and whatnot start disappearing. Bloodletting occurs in big, red doses, at the hand of resurrected Nazis, blue-faced, but otherwise still in uniform and bent on extermination.
It’s the next day when “Dead Snow” — forgive me in advance — comes alive, when the survivors valiantly grab the power tools and make a stand against the advancing Nazi troops. Here, the film turns wonderfully slapstick, in a manner that would do Sam Raimi proud. (The film wouldn’t exist without Raimi’s “Evil Dead II,” which “Snow” makes references to, both verbally and visually.)
This go-for-broke finale of carnage and cannibalism ultimately redeems the flick’s faults. (What hot girl is going to go make out with a fat guy in an outhouse while he’s defecating?) I have no doubt this is destined for cult-classic status; the more drunken viewings with friends, the better.
IFC Films’ release includes a bonus disc with enough behind-the-scenes footage that, if put together, would rival the feature’s running time. They toe the line of overkill, but it’s the main attraction that makes this package special. And, for once, the English dubbing ain’t so bad, either. —Rod Lott