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Review: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Poster for Tommy Wirkola's Dead Snow 2.
Dead Snow 2 poster.

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Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead is a continuation of the story of Martin from the first Dead Snow film. He wakes up in a hospital after being involved in a car accident. After coming to, Martin learns that the police suspect him of the murders that were in fact committed by Colonel Herzog and his band of Nazi zombies. Martin also discovers that he’s been given a limb transplant to replace his missing arm. However, he is startled to learn that the appendage came from none other than Colonel Herzog.

The film sees Vegar Hoel returning as Martin and features supporting performances from Ørjan Gamst and Martin Starr. Hoel is even more likable in the sequel than he was in the first outing and he brilliantly tackles the physical nature of the comedy inherent to the concept of a man receiving a satanic limb transplant.

I was really surprised to learn that the sequel to Dead Snow is in English, given that its predecessor was filmed in Norwegian with English subtitles. That seemed like a risky decision and it had me skeptical at first but my concerns were quickly assuaged and if anything, being in English made the film more enjoyable because none of the humor was lost in translation. Reportedly, each scene was filmed twice, once in English and once in Norwegian.

Tommy Wirkola (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) co-wrote and directed this follow up to his 2009 original film. I am so impressed with Wirkola’s growth as a filmmaker from the first installment to this hilarious, brutal, and off-the-wall sequel. Dead Snow is an enjoyable enough film but it never really achieved excellence. Dead Snow 2 surpasses its predecessor in every way imaginable. It is laugh-out-loud funny, unbelievable gory, and almost touching at times.

The script is much more imaginative than the screenplay for the first film. It takes the one surviving character from the original and introduces several likable and totally relatable characters. The bond that the characters build seems natural and the situations they end up in are comical but not played exclusively for laughs. There is a level of depth to each character that was not present in the 2009 original.

Like the first installment, there are references to classic horror films from years past in this follow up effort. But while the previous entry was keen to reference films like The Evil Dead both in spoken word and via a series of plot similarities, it quickly became tedious. However, the loving references to the cult classics of yesteryear are much more enjoyable in this installment because they are more subtle and less forced. This time around, they are not done so overtly as to become a nuisance to the audience.

In terms of carnage and gore, it is really amped up in this second installment. Some of the gross-out gags in the first picture were excessive and while they are even more over-the-top in the sequel, most of the gags are so hilarious that it’s nearly impossible not to laugh along and enjoy them. In one particularly memorable scene, a Nazi zombie uses a victims intestines to syphon gas.

Dead Snow 2 is briskly paced, for the most part, it leaves very little downtime between action sequences. My only real complaint about the film is that some of the battle scenes at the end went on a bit too long. The picture clocks in at 100 minutes and that’s probably about five minutes longer than it should have been. I began getting a bit anxious towards the end. But that’s a relatively minor complaint and really comes down more to personal preference than anything else.

If you haven’t seen the original, Dead Snow 2 offers a brief recap of the events of the first film to get the viewer up to speed and then jumps right into the action. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead will be available on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow.

WICKED RATING: 7/10  [usr 7]
Title: Dead Snow
Director(s): Tommy Wirkola
Writer(s): Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel, Tommy Wirkola
Stars: Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr
Year: 2014
Studio/ Production Co: Well Go
Language: English
Length: 100 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Zombies

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dogs, and cat hat(s).
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