I can’t remember who it was specifically, but someone in the WordPress blogging community recommended this film. I love The Walking Dead so when it comes to zombie movies, count me in.
It’s about a few Norwegian medical students going to a cabin in the mountains during Easter break. Everything is said in Norwegian so expect subtitles. I myself am not a fan of subtitles. Movies are supposed to be a form of entertainment that is both visual and auditory. When dialogue cannot be understood by your audience and you have to revert to subtitles, I’m now doing a lot of reading and not a lot of listening, which provides the overall feel of reading a picture book rather than watching a film. This is one of the disconnects that foreign films burdens American audiences with. It’s not intentional. It’s part of the language barrier.
Tommy Wirkola’s direction for the first half is aimless at best. He has his proponents sit around a cabin and engage in pointless conversation to waste time. It’s a bunch of guys and gals hanging around in a chilly cabin, drinking and relaxing. I got it. I don’t need to be beaten over the head with it.
For the majority of Dead Snow‘s first 45 minutes, Wirkola panders and erases at the drawing board while letting the tape roll. A film that is already short at 91 minutes, Wirkola’s poor decision-making makes Dead Snow more like a 46-minute short, if you have the patience to get that far. The script is far too nonchalant to stir interest. It doesn’t want to go anywhere. It’s like when you have to go somewhere and the car is in front of you, but instead of getting in the car and getting on your way, you sit down and fiddle with your keys. It doesn’t make sense.
The most persistent viewer will struggle to stay connected to the material. The audience’s desire to stick around would have been strengthened had they been teased of the quality Dead Snow had the potential to exhibit. However, when you watch a film for the first time and the opening half of the skit is mediocre at best, you can’t be criticized for turning it off. If you ate half of a pie and it was rotten, it makes no sense to eat the rest of it, even if the baker has assured you that is the good part. Rather than eat the rest, you’re more likely to ask, “Why couldn’t it have all been the good part?”
Desultory is probably the best adjective to describe Wirkola’s 2009 escapade: lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected. Inconsistency is a glaring blight on the zombie flick and it’s very unorganized. The story follows a logical trajectory but the entertainment value doesn’t. Wirkola’s pacing is off, especially considering this is a horror story and it’s even more of an affront when it’s a zombie movie. Where are the zombies? Where’s the suspense? Where’s the gore and laughs?
There’s no tension. The want to see what happens next is minimal. For a sub-genre that is usually described as gory and adrenaline-filled, Dead Snow if far too dead (haha) to elicit any cares from me.
Then Dead Snow got lively at the halfway point. Our protagonists stopped making the stereotypical, predictable decisions that infuriate viewers and started making the smart, survivalist decisions they should have made a long time ago. These people still aren’t bright. They make other choices that result in their demise, but at least Dead Snow improved.
Dark comedy and gutsy kills (pun) are displayed in favor of character development that never gave anything more than a perfunctory effort. I’ll give credit to the make-up artists for attempting zombie originality, but you got to do better than gray spray paint and some loose flesh to impress me. The Walking Dead is showing you up!
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the Woods, Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Young Guns)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Expendable 3, Homefront, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Vantage Point, The Starving Games)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Billy Madison, A Haunted House, 300: Rise of an Empire, Cowboys and Aliens)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Centurion, Planet of the Apes, Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Gallowwalkers, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Safe, Watchmen, Clash of the Titans)
My score for Dead Snow: 61.
Dead Snow is half a film, so it gets half a score. The final third ascends it to the 60’s but just barely so.