It’s Spring Break and for a group of Norwegian medical-school friends this means getting away from it all to a remote cabin in the mountains. Gadget-laden and spoiled rotten, our protagonists settle in for winter sports, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

The tone is somewhat spoiled when a seasoned mountain man stops by and tells tales of Nazi atrocities courtesy of the local town, Oksfjord being a key German harbour during the Second World War. Supposedly an SS garrison, under the command of one Colonel Herzog, took to the hills in the closing days of the war and were never heard from again. Naturally, there have been mysterious occurrences and disappearances ever since.

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Vegard (Lasse Valdal) leaves the group to find his girlfriend, who was supposed to have arrived before the rest of them. The remainder settle in and discover a small cache of loot hidden in the cabin. Then they begin to realize they are not as alone in the dark as they might wish.

Let’s face it, the SS have no redeeming features, they are WWII’s bogeymen, the bad guy’s bad guys. Ferocious, disciplined and wearing cool, black uniforms sporting the Totenkopf (death’s head) insignia. What threat could be better than these inhuman fiends coming back as dead inhuman fiends?

The concept has been visited before in 1975’s Shock Waves (AKA Death Corps), in which re-animated Nazi submariners plagued a tropical island. The cold and snowy Norwegian vistas of Dead Snow will make for a splendid double bill for some future dark and stormy night DVD party.

Dead Snow owes it’s style to the back catalogue of more recent American horror undertakings such as The Evil Dead and the colourful splatter of Eli Roth and any other offering where those adorable teens fail to heed the warnings of the local populace and end up at Crystal Lake or wherever.

A possible failing here is that the assembled group of youngsters are fairly disposable in all senses, only Erland (Jeppe Laursen) really engages as the token tubby funny guy. Wearing, as a token in-joke, a T-shirt promoting Peter Jackson’s Braindead, he gets to enjoy an unexpected turn of events which, if you are familiar with the rules of the genre, would make the Norwich Union drop his policy.

Unlike George Romero’s shambling legions of the undead, writer/director Tommy Wirkola has imbued the corps corpses with a spring in their goose-step and a modicum of intelligence which sets up an action packed and splattery finale, including a deliciously lethal snow-mobile sporting an MG-34 joining the fray.

Dead Snow is an enjoyable horror comic, goofy, blood-splattered fun for not all of the whole family.

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2009
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Teens on vacation fall foul of a Nazi-zombie battalion.
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James Benefield ***

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Writer: Stig Frode Henriksen, Tommy Wirkola

Starring: Ane Dahl Torp, Jenny Skavlan, Bjørn Sundquist, Charlotte Frogner, Stig Frode Henriksen, Jeppe Laursen, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Lasse Valdal, Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst

Year: 2009

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Norway

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