I quite enjoyed Dead Snow. There were many who liked it even more than I did, but what was there to dislike about a horror comedy featuring Nazi zombies out to reclaim their treasure stash? Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead actually manages to top the first film. It's brisker, it's gorier, and it's a damn sight funnier.
Following immediately on from the events of the first movie, Martin (Vegar Hoel) continues to fight off Nazi zombies until a serious car crash lands him in hospital. The police have questions for him, of course, but the doctor at least gives him some good news. They've managed to reattach the arm that they assume he lost in the car crash. Unfortunately, he didn't lose his arm in the car crash. Evil Nazi zombie Herzog (Orjan Gamst) did. Martin now has a super-strong, evil, right arm. If he can get it under his control then it may prove useful in his attempts to stop whatever the undead soldiers have planned. He might also be able to enlist the help of the Zombie Squad. Will it be enough?
Full marks go to Tommy Wirkola here (who also helped to write the script again, this time with Stig Frode Henriksen and their leading man, Hoel). Everyone was obviously on the same page, and every scene feels as if there have been as many gore gags as possible slotted in. You're unlikely to see more intestines pulled out, heads smashed and limbs ripped off in any other major 2014 release. And the running gag with a zombie who keeps being killed and resurrected again and again creates some big laughs and also, amazingly enough, affection for the poor thing being used in such a disposable way.
Barring one or two scenes, this is a movie equivalent of a juggernaut heading down a steep hill with no brakes. It doesn't let up, and once plot details are revealed you know just where it's heading, making the anticipation of the climax almost as much fun as the actual playing out of the thing itself.
The only thing that doesn't really sit right is the Zombie Squad, made up of one guy (Martin Starr) and two girls (Jocelyn DeBoer and Ingrid Haas). As happened with the first movie, this film stumbles when making use of characters that are best labelled as nerds. Hey, I'm a nerd. I'm not using it as a negative label, but I also don't think the stereotypes used here (youngsters who use Star Wars quotes and spend a lot of their time online) would necessarily be the most heroic when thrown in to a situation involving real zombies. I know that I've always told my wife that in the event of a zombie outbreak, despite my love for her, I would be trying to race ahead of her, simply to guarantee my own life for a bit longer.
Hoel has a lot of fun in the lead role, especially in the early scenes that show him struggling with a new arm acting out of his control, and Gamst is once again great at simply glowering and emanating evil. Starr, DeBoer (who looks a LOT like Rashida Jones here . . . . . or maybe that's just me) and Haas do okay, considering that they're stuck with the poorest characters, and writer Henriksen also joins in with the onscreen fun, doing well enough in the role of Glenn Kenneth, an innocent bystander who ends up helping to defeat the zombie menace. Hallvard Holmen and Amrita Acharia play a couple of police officers who can't believe what they end up seeing, and Derek Mears is once again under heavy make-up, playing a Russian zombie named Stavarin (hence the title of the movie).
If you liked the first movie then you'll love this sequel. If you didn't like the first movie then there's still a chance that you could like this. It's splatstick comedy at its best.
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