4 Aug 2014

Review - ‘Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead’ is a Relentlessly Bizarre and Gleefully Brutal Horror-Comedy NOT for the Faint Hearted

Dead Snow (Død Snø) was placed on the map within the horror genre due to its eccentric premise that saw a standard group of campers attacked by a horde of Nazi zombies who had an extreme lust for tearing limb from limb and butchering civilians with rusted weapons as opposed to wanted to chomp on the brains of any living creature; Of course it was a zombie film so the odd organ-eating was inevitable. It was this approach exactly that separated this stupendous gore-fest from the rest, along with the vicious deaths that came in bucket-loads.

There is a large grey cloud that lingers over the whole concept of a “sequel”, but horror fans are the only one who embrace it, at is always gives out more gore and bigger deaths even if the concept doesn't bode as well for us. We embrace each sequel both bad and good, but it is a rare occasion when we find one that’s great and one that outdoes the first in nearly every way possible. No, I’m not talking about Evil Dead 2 of course, but I am talking about the contender for best of 2014 Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead; and believe me when I say this, you have never seen a more deliciously bonkers zombie experience like this since the first time you watched Lionel use a lawnmower against a horde in Dead Alive (Braindead) back in 198_, and even this might just top that. Imagine that scene, stretched into a well-earned 100 minutes with added humour blacker than black, and a zombie vs. zombie war scene that could only be described as relentless in the best way possible; that’s what Red vs. Dead is, and that’s why it is on gem of a horror.

Dead Snow 2 is something that can debatably only be described as epic; this is in scale, in gore and in guts. We are presented to a horror that shows no boundaries butchering from the disabled to children as small as babies, and although it's harsh it also plays upon the fun "I don't give a f**k so here is my middle finger" theme that surrounds the film with complete enthusiasm and energy. Never before has a zombie film had such an enthusiastic attitude for what the genre can bring, and never before has a zombie film been so literal with it. It has gore and it's cranked up to 12, it has death and it's cranked up to 15, it has balls, and they are the biggest balls a genre film has had in recent memory. It is almost completely ruthless and that's the sort of approach the genre should be taking from here on in, especially those that have a dose of black humour and that don't take themselves even half serious.

Red vs. Dead does more than deliver a superb horror comedy, but it plays upon the ideas and stigmas that surround it in order to deliver on the half-serious approach that presents its completely ridiculous string of events that are played off in the most entertaining of manners. It's all fun and games, and the only one who would taking this serious is those who can't accept the exuberant display of horror and comedy, and those who can't see past the utterly silly face Dead Snow 2 has; yes it's silly and yes it borderline laughable, but that's what it wants to be so don't be pompous and embrace the absurdity Dead Snow 2 has to offer.

Although the film is almost perfectly intact thanks to Wikola's savvy delivery, the acting unfortunately from the english speaking cast is quite poor regardless of how fun and likable those characters are. The nerdy zombie quad present great fronts and are fascinating to watch along with a camp museum worker who's confusion of his own sexuality adds to the humour, but all of which are weak in delivery posing some uncomplimentary acting that only cripples the film from becoming something close to spectacular.

The humour is something that is hard to ignore, and through frequent gags that have you both laughing and feeling queezy; it's the creative silliness that boots the entertainment value, and after you watch a baby being bombed by a tank to a man whose intestines be used as a gas pump you realise that this is a film made for audiences, and a film to make you grin with sheer enjoyment. A lot of this is to Vegar Hoel's portrayal this time around which proves to be a heck of a lot more memorable from the last time we saw him slice and dice, and while enduring the film with an Evil Dead-esque sub-plot you can't help but find him rather endearing, and a worthy leading character to show the rest who's boss. Then again, once you watch him make love to a zombie it would be wrong for you not to root for him...right?

VERDICT: And just when I thought I saw it all when it came to the zombie sub-genre, I am then put in the position where I have to witness every bizarre death, plot twist, fight scene and zombie-gore romance that was to ever grace the big screen; and you know what, it was one hell of a blast!

Død Snø 2 (Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead)

R / 100 mins / Action, Comedy, Zombie / 2014

Director: Tommy Wickola

Writer: Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel, Tommy Wickola

Stars: Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Ingrid Haas, Jocelyn DeBoer

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