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Dead Snow Review

November 11, 2009 6:05 p.m.

KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando reviews "Dead Snow"

Related Story: Dead Snow

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

KPBS-FM Film Review: “Dead Snow” and Interview with Tommy Wirkola
By Beth Accomando
Air date: November 12, 2009

HOST INTRO:
Before Hollywood begins rolling out its serious Oscar contenders, KPBS film critic Beth Accomando wanted to enjoy one more guilty pleasure – a horror film from Norway called “Dead Snow.”

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(Tag:) “Dead Snow” opens tomorrow (Friday November 13) exclusively at Reading’s Gaslamp Stadium 15. You can find more of Beth’s reviews and the latest trailers at K-P-B-S-dot-O-R-G-slash-cinema-junkie.

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Halloween’s come and gone but KPBS film critic Beth Accomando recommends one last horror treat before the onslaught of serious dramas lined up for the holidays. So grab what weapons you have…

And prepare for an invasion of zombies from Norway in “Dead Snow.” Beth’s review is coming up on Morning Edition.


"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." That’s the way George Romero explained the sudden rise in reanimated corpses back in 1978. Right about now hell must be pretty crowded because the undead are invading every corner of pop culture, even reaching into the frozen landscapes of Norway.

TOMMY WIRKOLA: This is the first zombie film ever made in the whole of Scandanavia.

That’s 29-year-old Tommy Wirkola, the director of “Dead Snow.” For Norway’s first entry into the undead genre, Wirkola wanted to think of something particularly evil so he looked to local history.

TOMMY WIRKOLA: When we needed something more evil than a normal zombie and that’s a Nazi zombie. In Northern Norway we have a strong war history.

The Nazis occupied Norway for four years. But Wirkola doesn’t use this for satire like Romero would. Instead, Wirkola draws on the films he grew up with in the 80s, films like “The Evil Dead” and “Braindead.” So he's more like Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson, horror humorists with a knack for splatstick – a kind of yuk-yuk gorefest that finds a horror equivalent to slipping on a banana peel.

TOMMY WIRKOLA: After you’ve seen it you still go out with a smile on your face.

CLIP “Evil Dead”

Like the Evil Dead films, Wirkola's "Dead Snow" reinvigorates the genre with zombies, gore and humor spilling off the screen in equal measure. It takes Nazi zombies to new heights… or depths depending on your point of view. Wirkola mixes in other horror elements of the 80s most notably "Friday the 13th" and its premise of a bunch of young people isolated in a cabin.

CLIP Ready set go…

Then these young people uncover a secret Nazi treasure…

CLIP Fortune and glory kids…

And end up awakening an army of undead German stormtroppers who have little in common with the lethargic zombies of Romero’s films.

TOMMY WIRKOLA: What do you think when you think Nazis, you think fast, efficient, organized. So we tried to incorporate that in our zombies.

These Scandinavian youths are warned about an old legend involving something evil lurking in the snowy woods. Of course they laugh it off but in no time at all, the cabin comes under siege from some ruthless flesh-eating creatures. The kids rely on their movie knowledge and whatever weaponry they can find around the cabin to try and fight off the attackers.

CLIP SFX getting armed

The carnage that follows is excessive. This film is not for the squeamish. In fact there’s one scene that caused problems with censors involving a point of view shot from one of the zombie’s victims.

TOMMY WIRKOLA: It's a really cool effect in horror films to use the point of view shot. And we wanted something new with a death scene.

If you're a horror fan then you’ll be quite pleased by this – everyone else is sure to be disgusted. But delivering this level of gore isn’t easy in 40 below weather says Wirkola.

TOMMY WIRKOLA: Our blood kept freezing up. We used the syrup blood and we wanted to keep it naturalbut it was impossible because the blood kept freezing up on certain days.

That can be a major problem for a horror film like "Dead Snow," which is a lot like a video game for killing Nazi zombies and splattering red on the lovely white canvas of the snow-covered Scandinavian woods.

TOMMY WIRKOLA: That's the fun part when we wrote this was thinking about ways for zombies to die. Nobody ever feels sorry for a zombie especially a Nazi zombie. For a filmmaker you can really do whatever you want with them with a clear conscience.

Not everyone will be able to watch “Dead Snow” with a clear conscience; it’s a guilty pleasure. It takes you someplace dark, asks what you’d be willing to do to survive, and then allows you an escape from the horror through laughter. Some people will never appreciate horror comedy but for those of us who do, “Dead Snow” is a welcome, over the top entry.

For KPBS, I’m Beth Accomando.