Caution: Spoilers Abound!!
On a non-descript Saturday, I introduced my friend, V, to the Norwegian classics, “Dead Snow” and “Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead”. My friend has an interest in World War II and especially loves tanks. Of course, a tank features very prominently in the second film.
So, there we sat. My friend with no idea what lies in store and me, with a Cheshire Cat grin on my face, knowing he was not prepared for these movies. It was nice to see them again and gave me a chance to look at some of the finer points, and a hole or two, in both films.
“Dead Snow” (or Død snø) is the touching tale of Nazi Zombies in the mountains of Norway, violently killing a group of young people (actually in their 20s), one at a time. “Dead Snow 2” picks right up from the end of the first film and carries the story forward. So, if you want to follow the second film, you have to see the first film. Oh, alright. The second film starts out with a recap of the first.
In the first film, there is homage. One of the characters, the film nerd of the group, is wearing a “Braindead” T-shirt. This is in reference to Peter Jackson’s splatter classic. In both films, there is lots of splatter. Not only blood, but some internal organs. The film nerd is killed by having his head pulled apart, allowing his brain to hit the cabin floor. In “Brain Dead”, a head splits open to reveal a zombie inside its victim.
Brains are not the most important internal organ in these films. Here, we need to talk about Intestines!! That’s with a capital “I”. More in the first film than in the second, most of the victims are either holding their intestines or having them ripped out. In the second film, one unfortunate tourist has his intestines used to siphon gas from the tour bus to a tank. (Note: my friend V, who is very knowledgeable on the ways of the tank told me that the zombies do no siphon the gas into the gas tank, but rather put it where the radio operator would sit. It’s a faux pas that only a tank aficionado would spot.)
But, we’re here to talk intestines. I never understood the outright horror of having your intestines ripped out. Granted, it’s a horrible way to go, but why all the fuss? My friend V had the answer. It’s all there in Norse Mythology.
When you die, you go to Valhalla. You enter there as you left the world. In battle, Vikings would treat a fallen enemy based on the respect they had for them. If they were an honorable foe, they would be allowed to bleed out, keeping their body intact. If they were reprehensible, their bodies would be defiled. Sometimes, they would be beheaded. Sometimes, they would have their privates removed. Often, they would be cut open and their intestines would be pulled out. Imagine walking to a party thrown by Odin and you are dragging your intestines behind you!
Intestine removal is the most graphic part of the film.
Touches of humor abound in the films, more so in the second film. Where the first deals more in verbal humor, with snide remarks and sexual innuendo, the second uses sight gags. Some revolve around the main character’s “Satan’s Arm”.
In the first film, Martin (Vegar Hoel) amputates his own arm with a chain saw after it was bitten. As he is escaping the mountains in the second film, Herzog, the lead Nazi Zombie, loses his arm inside the car. Martin has an accident. Waking up at the hospital, he finds that the doctors have sewn the zombie arm to him, thinking it was his.
The arm has a mind of its own. It kills a boy, who helps our hero get out of his restraints. The child is thrown through not only a window, but the metal bars on the other side of the glass. Martin, while trying to administer CPR on the boy, uses the arm on his chest. The result is the same as if you would crush a jelly donut.
But the Satan Arm does come in handy when Martin has to resurrect a group of Russian soldier’s, killed by Herzog and his troops during the war. The ending of the second film is a battle royale between Nazi and Soviet Zombies. In the battle, limps fly, heads are bashed and…well, you get the picture. The Nazis have a secret weapon, though. They have a dead mad scientist that uses spare parts to put soldiers back together to send back into battle. This stems the tide, resulting in the defeat of the Russian Zombies.
Aiding Martin are three Americans who are “experts” on zombies. This turns out to mean that they have seen every zombie film in existence. Their leader even explains that what is happening does not fit any zombie film he has ever seen.
The police are equally inept. During the battle, they park their cars too close to each other, resulting in one of the cars, with occupants, being crushed by the tank.
After much discussion, it was reasoned that if they were able to kill the top zombie, Herzog, the other soldiers would stop and be dead, like they should be. Blowing off Herzog’s head using the tank does just that. Martin and the Americans have won the day!
For some reason, the mad scientist did not die. He finds Herzog’s head, which is still alive, and carries it off toward, possibly, a third movie?
Logically, the scientist should have died. This seems to be a plot hole. Likely, it will get cleaned up in a sequel.
After V finished viewing the films, he wondered more about my mental state that he had before, which is strange because everyone knows I’m on shaky ground to begin with. Recently, though, I calmed his nerves by procuring the film “War of the Dead.” This film is the most expensive film ever made by Lithuania.
I’ll let you know if the money was well-spent.