Dead Snow (Wirkola, 2009)


Dead Snow gleefully resurrects the guilt and trauma of Nazism still haunting the European psyche, soaking blood into snowy mountainsides, shoving entrails into the frozen hands of its victims, ripping to shreds the present with the lifeless limbs of the past. The familiar conventions of the horror film at first confound the notion of originality, melting away as the Nazi-zombies reveal themselves from the shadows. They quickly turn from unseen monsters to absurd and deadly evocations of incomplete history books and newsreel footage.

Despite early signs to the contrary, we begin to care about this particular group of breathing post-collegiate cliches, a lucky joyous few on vacation in the snow and ice hoping for casual sex, beer, and movie trivia. Innocent to a fault, these characters commit one mortal sin – ignorance of their nation’s past. Does the punishment meet the crime? Perhaps not, but Dead Snow puts on a bloody show nonetheless.

The dynamic action scenes propel each victim into different directions and the film into hilariously absurd tangents, forcing retaliation against both mental disbelief and physical harm. The inherent joy in dispensing Nazi after Nazi quickly turns to the realization there might be too many hidden waves of evil to survive.

Unlike most Horror films of this ilk, the details of death in Dead Snow make an impact. Each cut, slash, and slice, purposeful and mistaken, both relinquish and reinforce fear in the characters. The process of mythmaking also comes into play, giving strength to common folk much like the propaganda machine of any country would achieve. Dead Snow claims loudly that like it or not, we are linked to the past deeds of our countrymen, and now more than ever the ground seems to be swelling with horrific reminders. The question is, will we listen.

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