Movie: Dead Snow
There’s a technique used when script writing, called “hanging a lantern on it”. Usually it is a lazy way of writing your way out of an illogical situation, or to distract from an obvious plot device. The Norwegian comedy / horror (Norromedy?), DEAD SNOW employs the technique very early on, when a group of young friends begin a trek to a mountain cabin and discover that they have no phone reception. The characters begin listing classic horror movies, which begin with a group of people making their way (or arriving at) an isolated destination. In this case the technique isn’t being used out of laziness, but instead to let the audience know what the film makers have every intention of employing every horror movie convention that they can get their hands on.
The plot? Well, all you really need know is that a group of Norwegian medical students make their way to a cabin in the mountains, near Øksfjord, for an Easter holiday get-away. Oh, and they are attacked by a horde of Nazi zombies. No, the plot clearly isn’t what makes this movie work. It’s the great character writing and banter between the cast, and the ample nods given by the film makers to classic schlock horror (One character even wears a ‘Brain dead’ t-shirt). Indeed they make fun of their own humour, with another cast member commenting that there are no “good jokes that don’t involve poop or pee or something”.
I have to admit that some of the humour falls flat, and not all the dialogue works. However I suspect that most of that has to do with the fact that it’s being translated and you’re having to read the subtitles – which doesn’t really allow for the kind of timing that most comedy requires.
Director, Tommy Wirkola, handles the blend of comedy, horror and action without too much trouble, something that many other film makers have tried before, but few have succeeded at. Looking past the gross visual effects that fill the latter half of the movie, Dead Snow is a really good looking film. While much of it takes place at night, or in the small cabin that our heroes find themselves under siege in, the rest takes in the stunning Norwegian landscape — Yes, some of it is pretty obvious green-screen work, but the stuff that was shot on location looks fantastic. More of which is featured in one of the extras on the DVD, which shows some of the difficulties faced by the crew when trying to film in an environment with such extreme weather conditions.
Dead Snow isn’t an epic horror masterpiece, or a constant laugh riot. But it is a damn fun film that every horror fan should feel a sense of ownership over. It feels very much like it was made FOR fans of horror, like it’s one massive in-joke. [source]
Catch the trailer in the madman screening room: [trailer]