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Dead Snow: Red Vs. Dead ("Død Snø 2")

Canadian Premiere
  • Norway
  • 2014
  • 101 mins
  • DCP
  • Norwegian / English
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection, Sundance 2014
Official Selection, Night Visions 2014
Official Selection, Seattle International Film Festival 2014

Isn’t it thrilling to see a filmmaker improve before your very eyes? Having first played Fantasia with his contemporary Nazi zombie cult hit DEAD SNOW, Tommy Wirkola has grown up, but certainly hasn’t toned down. With DEAD SNOW 2, he returns to the concept that endlessly delights gorehounds everywhere, and has crafted a film much bigger and undeniably better

DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD catches the audience up with a quick, splattery recap and a transplant that leaves lone survivor Martin with a renegade zombie arm, which previously belonged to Nazi zombie leader Colonel Herzog. Naturally under investigation for the massacre of his friends, Martin aims to escape the hospital. He’s not alone, however. Not with American imports, The Zombie Squad. Led by Daniel (Martin Starr) and rounded out by Monica and Blake (Jocelyn DeBoer and Ingrid Haas, respectively), the Zombie Squad takes the piss out of zombie culture fans that get kicks from preparing for a nonfictional apocalypse. Together, they get back to the good fight and discover just what it is the SS undead are in search of.

So significant to the upped scale of DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD is the visual flair from Wirkola and returning cinematographer Matthew Weston. The two give proper due to the Icelandic locations, capturing often stunning landscapes against the grit of battle. Make no mistake, the subtitle of this sequel isn’t simply wordplay and the carnage isn’t simply zombie “attacks.” In action and image, Wirkola approaches DEAD SNOW 2 as a war film. When the ghastly troops lay waste to a town, it is in the spirit of pillaging warriors and the film’s final confrontation — in which Martin and the Zombie Squad have amassed their own legion of zombies — is a rousing set piece, complete with widespread chaos, small-scale character arcs and excellent, blood-soaked physical comedy throughout. And that’s not to mention the unbelievable epilogue, scored to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

— Samuel Zimmerman