Having crashed his car after fleeing the ski lodge where his friends were brutally murdered by General Herzog and his squadron of Nazi zombies, Martin wakes up in hospital attempting to convince the local authorities that he is not responsible for their deaths. Little do they know the undead fascists are very much still 'living' and marching on the town and what's worse, they have a tank! With time running out it's up to Martin and his new American allies to save the town from total annihilation and defeat Herzog and his men once and for all.
Tommy Wirkola returns to his cult zombie hit Dead Snow with a more self-aware tone. Similar to how Sam Raimi amped up the slapstick gore with his sequel to Evil Dead, Dead Snow 2 is more savagely aware and playful of its strengths as a horror comedy. There’s something rather amusing and charming about a human/zombie sex scene romantically staged against Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart. There’s no moment where the zombie female becomes so hungry that she bites his tongue mid kiss. Finally, a more progressive zombie make-out scene in the movies.
What makes Dead Snow 2 so engaging over its competition of zombie pictures is that it never follows the standard protocols. Biting humans is so last year. Who needs to bite when you can smash heads, viciously shank and shoot others with a giant tank? The Nazi zombies are recruited via black magic of the Nazi general’s hands. Merely a touch of his body will revive the dead and expand the Nazi zombie movement. That probably makes it easier to decide who you do and do not want in your legion. They probably don’t want to accidentally convert a jew into their fold. Or maybe they do. I’m not that familiar with Nazi zombie politics.
The lone survivor of the previous film Martin (Vegar Hoel) finds himself in the hospital with a zombie arm attached to his previously severed limb. The undead arm not only has the power to go berserk with strength and killing, but it can also revive the dead into obedient zombies. So when the Nazi zombies start terrorizing the Norway countryside, it’s up to Martin to amass his own allied zombie forces to take down the revived third reich. He can additionally just slam the arm into the ground of a graveyard and instantly zombify all corpses in the area. How is that possible? Because the movie can only be so long and bringing an undead army to life takes too long if you dig them up on by one. Plus, you can’t go wrong with the classic zombies rising from their graves.
Additionally, Martin also ends up calling in a squad of zombie experts from America. And by zombie experts, the film is of course referring to overly obsessed geeks who have more experience quoting Star Wars than killing zombies. Did you know that parts of the Hoth planet from The Empire Strikes Back were filmed in Norway? The threat of incoming zombies won’t stop them from pointing out this tidbit. They exist as the plucky element of amateur zombie hunters, gleeful and fearful about becoming the legends they aim to be. The three of them have been bestowed the title as the movie’s more intentional comic relief which is effective in that they’re just dorky enough to be amusing.
What this all boils down to is a zombie smackdown of Nazi zombies versus non-Nazi zombies. In that sense, it’s more of a slapstick action picture the way zombies favor blunt weapons over chewing flesh. That being said, Dead Snow 2 still offers plenty of comical gore. There are ridiculous little touches to all of the kills. While on the road, the Nazi tank needs to be gassed up. The Nazi zombies need to siphon gas from a bus and decide to use a victim’s intestines as a hose. There’s no reason they needed to use intestines specifically other than the fact that it’s mildly amusing and horrifically creative.
There’s a fearless sense of taking no prisoners when it comes to the violence, echoing the relentless spirit of Troma films. Victims include wheelchair-bound women being stomped to death, old people being clubbed on the toilet, kids being run over by a tank and mothers with baby strollers being shot at with tank shells. Nothing is off limits for the tongue-in-cheek vibe of a zombie massacre that’s rather brutal. Most of the comedy comes from just how far this film will go for a kill in the most original ways, rarely repeating the same methods twice. The only group curiously missing from the film’s irreverence are jewish people. Either they’re too easy of a target for Nazi zombies or they’re being saved for Dead Snow 3.
Dead Snow 2 may be lacking in its snowy setting and confined space, but it retains its wicked sense of dark fun. It’s surprisingly shocking, brutally gory and shamelessly silly. It’s also rather smart for a zombie film in which the undead are far more intelligent and understandable in their actions. These creatures don’t need to crave brains as they’ve clearly got enough of them. At times it’s even cute as when Martin revives his first zombie that desperately wants to prove himself like an innocent little puppy. There’s something rather sweet about a zombie who’s willing to both fight for your survival and volunteer his battered body to help you dig your car out of a ditch. Undeniably gross, but still cute.