Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

For those who thought the end of Dead Snow was the end for hero Martin (Vegar Hoel), writer/director Tommy Wirkola has something to say about that. Picking up exactly where the first movie ends, Dead Snow 2 not only gives audiences more of a backstory for the Nazi zombies, it also ups the action, insanity, and hilarity in ways the first film couldn’t.  After barely surviving the Nazi zombie attack, Martin gets held responsible for the deaths of his friends and girlfriend.  Desperate to prove the validity of his claims, he escapes the hospital and seeks the help of a group of experts known as the Zombie Squad. This trio of Americans, led by the nerdy Daniel (Martin Starr), travels to Norway to assist Martin in stopping the Nazi zombie battalion from completing its mission.

This film which I watched on Fantastic Fest’s opening night is an absolute blast from start to finish. I had such a great time with this movie that laughed heartily and applauded along with my fellow audience members.  Working with writers Stig Frode Henriksen and Vegar Hoel, Wirkola has made a sequel that outshines the first installment in a huge way.  This time the filmmakers pull out all the stops, and unleash a wild and irreverent zombie comedy, heavy on the bloody Karo.  During the question and answer session after the screening, Wirkola commented that with the first film, he had so many limitations and constraints.  Now that he has achieved a certain level of success and had the budget for it, he could make the film he wanted.

As much as I liked the first film, I feel that the story doesn’t offer much more than homages to previous zombie and horror/comedy movies.  This one definitely stands on it own and brings a bold, exciting and fresh approach without relying too much on the referencing of other movies that have preceded it.  The entire cast is great and the addition of actors Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, and Ingrid Haas give the film a more worldly feel.  This movie deserves nearly as much high regard as Evil Dead 2, Shaun of the Dead, Dead Alive, and Zombieland and makes an awesome addition to the genre.



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