It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Like so many other post-"Shaun of the Dead" horror-comedies, the execution of "Dead Snow 2" is rarely as funny as the concept. Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola and his two co-writers do virtually nothing with their sequel's most novel twist: what if you made zombie Nazis fight zombie Communists? That joyfully moronic question is answered in a comically drawn-out battle royale. But, until then, viewers are stuck watching unmoving human protagonists like Martin (Vegar Hoel), the only living survivor of "Dead Snow," prepare to take on a horde of goose-stepping flesh-eaters. All creative roads lead to the film's big climax, and the jokes scattered along the way are usually not outlandish enough to make "Dead Snow 2" memorably funny. Then again, you will probably enjoy "Dead Snow 2" if you're amused at the thought of zombie Nazis grunting, stabbing, and Sieg-heil-ing their way through a Sam Raimi-inspired gross-out comedy. It's for-horror-nuts-only, but if you can see it with a rowdy crowd, "Dead Snow 2" will appreciate exponentially.
In a tellingly timid introductory recap, "Dead Snow 2" gently reminds viewers what happened in "Dead Snow:" Hitler-worshippers, led by Colonel Herzog (Orjan Gamst), killed six of seven thrill-seeking co-eds during an ill-timed visit to a Norwegian cabin. Martin previously thought his undead, bigoted assailants were after a cache of gold that he and his friends kept for themselves. But now, after returning the zombie Nazis' gold, Martin realizes that Herzog and the gang won't go away until they fulfill Hitler's last command: punish a nearby Norwegian village for their wartime efforts. To stop Herzog, Martin enlists the help of the Zombie Squad (including Martin Starr), a trio of geeky American survivalists that have spent years preparing for a zombie apocalypse. But when Herzog's numbers prove too great, Martin uses a supernatural severed arm he cut off Herzog's body, and raises his own army.
Turn back now
if you're not already chuckling. The makers of "Dead Snow 2" rely
heavily on the inherent absurdity of their film's premise, and expect
you to do the rest. Several comedic scenes that rely on pregnant pauses are funny, especially scenes starring "Sidekick Zombie"
(Kristoffer Joner), a rapidly-deteriorating, Nazi-fighting tourist that
Martin raises from the dead. But the sight of monsters grunting, and
killing zealously while dressed up as World War II cos-players is only
so funny since "Dead Snow 2" generally isn't mean enough.
In any other type of film, the fact that the Zombie Squad's members are ostensibly sympathetic would be a good thing. But they're so gawky and earnest that you keep expecting, nay, hoping that one of them gets dispatched by a brain-nibbling anti-semite. Daniel (Martin Starr), a greasy, trenchcoat-clad geek, is the most obnoxious of the group. He squeals with delight when he first discovers that he is, after years of fantasizing, capable of destroying zombies. But, after that, Daniel's a hatchet-chucking killing machine, which is only so much fun to watch.
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