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Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
Well Go USA
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Tommy Wirkola
Vegar Hoel
Martin Starr
Ingrid Haas
Jocelyn DeBoer
Orjan Gamst
Bottom Line: 

It’s a rare thing when a sequel outshines its predecessor, and rarer, still, in the horror genre, but such is the case with Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (Dod Sno 2), the hilarious, extremely gory, and gloriously politically incorrect follow up to Tommy Wirkola’s 2009 global sensation.  

Picking up where the last film left off, Dead Snow 2 finds the previous film’s hero, Martin (Vegar Hoel), handcuffed to a bed in a rural hospital, and being held responsible for the grisly deaths of his friends. That’s not the only surprise for Martin, however, as his well-meaning doctor also informs him that he’s managed to reattach the arm that he sawed off after being bitten by one of the Nazi zombies, not realizing that he’s actually attached the severed arm of the Nazi zombie Colonel Herzog. Almost as quickly as Martin comes to the realization, his new limb lashes out, killing the doctor before the police are able to pin Martin down and sedate him.

While Martin sleeps, Herzog and his men begin their march on a series of small villages, killing the inhabitants, and using Herzog’s ability to reanimate the dead to reinforce their ranks. Now cursed with a sort of symbiotic link with Herzog, Martin is jolted awake by visions of his Nazi nemeses bashing heads and disemboweling bodies as they continue their march down from the frozen mountaintops upon which he discovered them. Martin is also surprised by a pint-sized visitor who is documenting the obviously mismatched limb grafted onto his body for an American group known as “The Zombie Squad” that bills themselves as experts in the art of undead eradication.  After a bit of an “accident” involving the child, Martin grabs his phone and escapes the hospital, making arrangements for The Zombie Squad to join him in Norway to help him fight Herzog and his growing army. Unbeknownst to Martin, the “elite force” he’s expecting actually consists of three computer nerds led by Daniel (Adventureland’s Martin Starr), whose entire plan of action comes from what they’ve seen in the myriad zombie films they’ve watched in their lifetime.

While Daniel and his co-horts Blake (Ingrid Haas) and the Star Wars obsessed Monica (Jocelyn DeBoer) make their way from the States to Norway, Martin follows his zombie limb’s directions to a war museum in the middle of the mountains that stores a large amount of Nazi memorabilia, including a virtual arsenal of World War 2 weaponry and one bad ass tank. Martin enlists the aid of museum employee Glenn Kenneth (Stig Frode Henriksen) to search the museum for whatever it is that’s drawing Herzog and his men to it, but, during their search, the undead zombies arrive, killing a busload of tourists and looting the museum. While Martin and Glenn Kenneth narrowly avoid detection, the same can’t be said for an unfortunate few who were butchered by the zombies, including a wheelchair bound man (Kristoffer Joner) whose death Martin takes particularly hard. However, when Martin places his zombie limb on the man, he reanimates him, apparently sharing the same power as Herzog, with the newly created zombie deferring to Martin as his master. Once Daniel and the others arrive and are made privy to Martin’s newfound gift, they hatch a plan to resurrect a squad of fallen Russian soldiers led by the hulking Stavarin (Derek Mears) who were ambushed by Herzog back in World War 2 in hopes of evening the odds and defeating the evil Nazi leader once and for all.

While Dead Snow was an obvious homage to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films, it still had a serious bent to it, aiming to scare as often as it made viewers giggle. Dead Snow 2, however, is an unabashed piece of splatter slapstick in the vein of Peter Jackson’s early gross-out flicks, chockfull of gore, silly humor, and hilariously inappropriate kills. Wirkola employs a throw-it-all-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach here, so the film definitely has its fair share of comic misfires (I personally found DeBoers’ Star Wars dialogue spouting particularly groan-inducing, and a bizarre interplay between a pair of police officers having something to do with a “seagull translation device” fell completely flat), but it’s an enormously entertaining film that throws political correctness and good taste right out the window in as hilarious a fashion as possible.

Well Go USA brings Dead Snow 2 to Blu-ray in fine style, presenting the film in a very impressive 1.85:1 transfer that is as sharp as a bayonet tip and brimming with gruesome fine detail. The image is also wonderfully vibrant and sports spot-on contrast, whether it be the rich deep black of Herzog’s leather trench coat or the blinding white snow of the Norwegian wilderness.

The film is presented in both its English language and Norwegian versions (not subtitled, mind you – two versions of the film were shot), and both versions are included here, as well as a solid collection of bonus features, including  a fun and informative commentary with Director Tommy Wirkola and Writer Stig Frode Henriksen, a short visual FX Featurette, a bonus short film entitled “Armen” (HD) that’s sort of a spiritual cousin to Dead Snow and focuses on the recipient of a similarly ill-behaved limb. Rounding out the extras is a Dead Snow “comic book” (presented like a stills gallery rather than an actual physical “book”) and the film’s trailer.

Dead Snow 2 is one of the goriest and most un-PC horror films in recent memory, and it will have you laughing and squirming in equal measure. The Blu-ray from Well Go USA is a real treat, especially given that they include both the “international” (English language) version as well as the Norwegian version, (the latter of which I find works just a touch better when it comes to some of the humor). If you’re a fan of splatter comedy, you won’t find many better than this! Highly recommended! 

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