Sundance Film Review: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Posted January 25, 2014 in
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Photo courtesy of: Tappeluft Pictures

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Tommy Wirkola

At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, director Tommy Wirkola unleashed an over-the-top take on the horror genre with Nazi zombies attacking a group of medical students on a skiing trip in his Norwegian cult flick, “Dead Snow.” Five years later, Wirkola picks up the story at the exact moment where he left us. The sole one-armed survivor of the first endeavor, Martin Hykkerud (Vegar Hoel), narrowly escapes the clutches of General Herzog (Ørjan Gamst) and his army of undead soldiers, but not before tearing off the commander’s arm as well. After crashing his car in the getaway, Martin regains consciousness in the local hospital only to realize he has been accused of his friends’ deaths and the surgeon has attached Herzog’s arm to his body. Think 1929’s “The Hands of Orlac” or 1991’s “Body Parts.” The appendage has a mind of its own. For some inexplicable reason, Wirkola decides to tap into the Hollywood tradition of filmmaking and includes the “Zombie Squad U.S.A.,” a trio of zombie aficionados, led by Martin Starr, who travel to The Land of the Midnight Sun to assist Martin’s efforts of putting an end to Herzog’s reign while constantly spewing out annoying lines of dialogue from “Star Wars.” Where Wirkola succeeded in 2009 with a gruesome horror film that included bits of comedy, he fails this time around with this cheesy comedy that includes bits of horror. Sure, there are multiple laughs to be had, but it’s not the same fragrance we fell in love with five years ago. Maybe Wirkola’s introduction to Hollywood last year with “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” changed his filmmaking style, but I miss the true grit he once possessed. Usually, American cinema waits at least a year to remake and disgrace its foreign source material, but now we’re just occupying their productions. If “Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead” were a stand-alone project, it would be much more acceptable, but, when a precedence has been established in a franchise, to pull a 180-degree shift is downright off-putting.

– Jimmy Martin

Screening Times: 
Sunday, Jan. 26 — 5:30 p.m. • Holiday Village Cinema 2, Park City