Thursday, May 6, 2010

DEAD SNOW (Tommy Wirkola, 2009, Norway)

A group of medical students is dissected by an army of darkness, a platoon of undead Schutzstaffel eternally in search of plundered gold. Director Tommy Wirkola targets nearly every horror trope and blasts away with the subtly of a MG 34, creating a cacophony of phony laughs and CGI bloodletting.

The rigid cast of characters are ill defined, their aborted personalities neither representative or allegorical: they’re just food for the dead. The plot is dimensionless, just an obligatory excuse to isolate the caricatures upon a lonely mountain, buried in an avalanche of gore. The set-up screams homage to classic horror but fails to deliver anything but gruesome humor with head-banging aplomb. Wirkola eschews flashback and uses exposition from a mysterious stranger to convey back-story, while utilizing simplistic foreshadowing to create a sense of immanent danger. The film finds its humorous equilibrium in unbalancing the four humors; from the lower depths of gut-wrenching and intestine-looping laughter to self-mutilation, DEAD SNOW is a flurry of dead-on parody.

The SPFX are rather mundane never reaching the heights of Tom Savini’s vintage work and the CGI fountains of blood look aren’t very convincing, cheapening the overall thrill of this spectral spectacle. To achieve a more visceral atmosphere, Wirkola should have relied in physical props instead of computer generated illusion.

A nihilistic nexus of Nazi nemeses, DEAD SNOW is a conjunction of shock and haw that unfortunately leaves its best parts unthawed, frozen in the wastes. Final Grade: (C)

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