Film: Dead Snow

Ein! Zwei! Die!

And you thought Those Wacky Nazis were bad the first time around
Dead Snow (Død Snø) is a Norwegian Zombie horror-comedy movie from 2009. The plot concerns a group of young medical students who go to a small secluded cottage in the mountains for their Easter vacation. Drunkenness, lechery and silliness ensue - until a lone wanderer comes by, telling the grisly tale of a detachment of Nazis who, in the last days of the war, stole everything not nailed down and fled to the mountains, where they perished in the cold. Of course, The Wanderer is entirely ignored, and leaves. Before long, though, the med students find themselves fighting for their lives against zombies... Nazi zombies.

Dead Snow isn't quite your typical zombie film, if that wasn't already apparent, and it switches between horror and humor much like Evil Dead 2, which appears to be an important inspiration for this tale of gore and guts.

A 2014 sequel is nigh upon us.

Tropes in this film:

  • Audible Sharpness: For a chainsaw, a rifle, and even a sledgehammer.
  • Bad Ass: Vegard, who, among other things, stitches up a wound on his own neck. With a fishhook and line.
    • Heroic BSOD: The death of Sarah, and then being informed that everyone else is dead leaves him stunned, allowing the zombies to attack him despite only a minute earlier defeating the zombies when they tried similar moves with ease.
  • Big Bad: Herzog is the leader of the zombies.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Martin and Roy weren't in trouble when they were fighting the zombies, but when a second wave attacks, Vegard decides to show up. With a machine gun strapped to his snow mobile.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The English subtitles are okay for the most part, but obviously not done by a native speaker.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Very much so in the second half,
  • Cell Phones Are Useless:
    • The cottage is in a dead zone, but they can still call emergency services. Towards the end they try it, but when they try to explain the situation (complete with zombies who "look like Germans from the Second World War!"), they are mistaken for a prank call and their connection terminated.
    • This is lampshaded by Genre Savvy film buff Erlend right at the beginning.
    "How many movies start with a bunch of teenagers in the middle of nowhere with no reception?"
  • Chainsaw Good
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The coin Hanna hides in Martin's pocket, which dooms him in the end.
    • Averted by the coin that falls off of Erland's lap into the snow. Nothing ever comes of it.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Using dangling spit to determine which way is up after being buried in snow.
    • Vegard and co. were in the army. Their military skills come in handy quite a bit.
  • Closed Circle: The students park their car a ways away from the cottage - the student who is a movie buff correctly identifies the situation
  • Death by Materialism: The zombies are after the gold hidden in the students' cottage. Martin is undone by the fact that Hanna stole a coin and hid it in his pants.
  • Death by Sex: Erlend and Chris - they are the only ones to have sex in the movie.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: During their stand against the zombies, Roy crosses his hammer and sickle to make the classic symbol for Communism. It might be an intentional choice by Roy, since the zombie he attacks looks very upset by it.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: A guy is working out his frustration at being cornered by zombies by savagely hacking the remaining one to pieces. His girlfriend decides that the best thing to do in this situation is to walk up and tap him on the shoulder, and gets an axe in the neck for her troubles.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Duct Tape For Makeshift Bandages!
  • Epic Fail: Roy attempts to throw a Molotov cocktail out an open window two feet in front of him. He hits the wall of their wooden cabin instead, with predictable results.
  • Eye Scream: One of the zombies grabs Erlend by the head and jams its fingers into his eye sockets before simply pulling his skull apart.
  • Face Your Fears: Martin is afraid of blood and gets drenched in it over the course of the film. Hanna is claustrophobic and gets buried in snow.
  • Everybody Dies: Appears that way originally, but the sequel reveals Martin survived.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Erlend identifies their situation as a Closed Circle (and is a huge movie geek to boot), however he is one of the only ones in the movie who had sex...
    • He's also the first to identify the zombies. The students in general avert the expected horror Genre Blindness, even after scoffing off the crusty old doomsayer, they're quick to take self-preservative action.
  • Ghostapo: No origin is confirmed for the zombies, but it's hinted to be the result of a curse.
  • Gorn: It is a zombie movie - do we really need to go on?
  • Gratuitous German: Sure, the Zombies all prefer groaning to proper German, but the one time the Colonel speaks it, it sounds very dodgy.
  • Groin Attack: Both used by the zombies, and against them.
  • Homage:
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Of course the dead would rise around Easter.
  • Impairment Shot: There are good ways to wake up, and bad ways. One particularly bad way is to wake up to zombies ripping out your intestines.
  • Life or Limb Decision: Martin, though it seems to be unnecessary. He doesn't live long enough to find out.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Roy and Martin raid the tool shed, resulting in one of these that is straight out of the Evil Dead series.
  • Made of Plasticine: Both the humans and zombies seem to be able to tear each other apart with their bare hands.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Wanderer doubles as this and as a Harbinger of Impending Doom. As these are wont to do, he catches a terminal whiff of The Stupids and goes somewhere remote and unprotected to get killed
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: It's close.
  • No Time to Explain: Parodied when two of the protagonists are trying to keep the attacking nazi zombies from breaking into the house.
    -We've got to get to the shed!
    -What? Why do we need to go there?
    (a beat)
    -Uh... no time to explain!
  • Not Using the Z Word: Movie buff Erlend rightly identifies the zombies - being Genre Savvy. He is killed off in the same scene.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Colonel Zombie does this toward the end, suddenly being ahead of his own zombie soldiers, when we saw him letting them run ahead of him (so that he could pick up a weapon) a few shots ago.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • The look on Martin's face after he cuts off his own arm with a chainsaw to save himself from a zombie bite, only to be bitten in the crotch immediately afterwards, is just pricelessly pathetic. Later on, his Famous Last Words: "Oh, fuck."
    • The zombies panic when Vegard busts out the machine gun.
    • Martin's and Roy's reaction after "Arise!"
    • When Vegard is exploring the cave and sees the giant Nazi flag, his reaction is priceless: "Fuck."
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The exact mechanics are not explained, but the Nazi zombies are strongly implied to be of the Revenant variety, driven by greed past the point of death. Although it's not clear whether they eat human flesh, they are bitey.
    • The sequel confirms that they are of the "cursed zombie" variety, animated by the magic of their leader, Colonel Herzog. They do occasionally bite, but for the same reasons that humans do (to hurt an opponent). Otherwise, they use conventional weapons.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Vegard sees the Nazi flag in the cave, his only response is "Fuck." See Oh Crap!.
  • Rule of Funny: Yes, in a zombie horror film.
  • Scare Chord: It's used quite a lot. Mostly for Rule of Funny.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The opening credits, in which Sara is chased down and murdered by zombies, are set to the upbeat "In the Hall of the Mountain King"
    • The supremely gory zombie brawl is set to the insanely upbeat and cheerful "Min Dag I Dag" (Today's My Day)
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The whole movie is full of defeated efforts leading to Total Party Kill.
  • Super Cell Reception: Disbelieved In-Universe. The characters are stuck high in the mountains in Norway, and when they DO manage to get reception, the emergency dispatcher thinks they're kidding.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Well, it sort of worked. Even the thrower looked surprised that it actually hit home.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Best example—Hanna makes the incredibly stupid decision to put an unexpected hand on Martin's shoulder whilst he is in a zombie-mutilating rage. Guess what happens next.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Everyone who lives long enough to fight the zombies. Especially Vegard.
    Roy: Where the fuck did you get a machine gun from?
    Vegard: Well... I've been busy.
  • Trash the Set: They built the cottage for this film. The molotov cocktail then burns it down. The charred remains where the treasure box is found is actually the leftovers of the cottage.
  • White Shirt of Death: Vegard's white snowjacket gets soaked red by the end of the film after killing a number of zombies.
  • Write Who You Know: Roy (Stig Frode Henriksen), a friend and frequent collaborator of Tommy Wirkola's, basically plays himself. In addition, Martin and Erlend are also based on friends of the two, the former sharing both his inspiration's full name (he is named Martin Hovden in the script; look at the credits for Translation) and fear of blood.
  • Zombie Gait: Averted. The zombies walk pretty normally, and are frequently shown running. They even manage an Offscreen Teleportation or two.
  • Zombie Infectee: Erland warns the gang not to get bitten, clearly fearing this trope from all the zombie movies he's watched. Martin takes the warning to heart and chops off his arm after getting bitten. We never find out if it's possible to change into a zombie. Roy argues that Nazi zombies wouldn't accept new members with Jewish ancestry.

Tropes in the sequel:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Glenn mentions how he has a "he" whom he finds he to be very hot but suddenly retracts it to a "she". Not so ambiguous after all...
    • Made pretty clear by His last words.
    Glenn: Fuck it! I'm just going to say it. I, Glenn Kenneth Toivonen, am -
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The film is much gorier than the first part which was very gory itself.
    • Played for Laughs: Despite being much gorier than the first, the sequel is significantly more lighthearted and played-for-laughs than its predecessor. Some film critics compared the first to the first Evil Dead, and the second to the comedically gory Braindead.
  • The Chew Toy: The poor guy in the wheelchair who gets reanimated repeatedly each time going through horrible punishment. All Played for Laughs of course.
  • Clear My Name: Martin is accused of the killings perpetrated by Herzog and his army. Subverted as he abandons trying to clear himself and focuses on killing Herzog instead.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Herzog, for a horror comedy is actually a pretty dangerous and smart villain even if he was not a zombie. He only resurrects the zombies which are fully functional (to the extent after he is done killing them) and sends the weaker zombies to weather the worst attacks first.
  • Everyone Is Armed: Averted, and lampshaded by the American characters who can't believe they can't buy firearms at the local hardware store.
  • Evil Hand: Herzog's hands one of which gets surgically attached to Martin that can reanimate the dead!
  • Genocide Backfire: When he was alive, Herzog wiped out the Soviet POWs. When they come back, they want nothing more than to annihilate him and his army.
    • It's Personal: Lieutenant Stavarin doesn't take his eyes off Herzog when he and his own "army" arrive.
  • Gorn
  • Husky Russkie: The Soviet lieutenant Stavarin is an enormous shaggy-bearded bear of a zombie, and Bad Ass enough to tear through the Nazis and hand Herzog his ass in a fight.
  • I Love the Dead: Martin reanimates Hanna in the end and has sex with her in the car.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted with extreme prejudice.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The cops when they start realising just what's going on.
    Chief of Police: Jesus, Mary and Joseph Stalin!
  • Nerd Action Hero: The Zombie Squad are nerds but surprisingly pretty competent fighters.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Glenn and Martin avoid the zombies attacking the war museum this way.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Delivered while elbow-deep in the guts of a dead child, no less.
  • Oh Crap!: Herzog and his tankman when the undead Reds arrive.
  • Police Are Useless: Enforced. The lead police officer is useless but he deliberately stays out of the action to let the zombies kill each other and then nab Martin to become famous.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: One of the Zombie Squad speaks almost entirely in Star Wars quotes.
    Glenn: Could we please maybe focus on, you know, the nazi zombies instead?
  • The Cavalry: The undead Reds.
    Martin: I brought a few friends.
  • The Stinger: The Nazi Zombie Doctor wasn't killed along with the others. He finds and reanimates Herzog's head.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Martin especially with Herzog's surgically attached right hand becomes a very badass character.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Several.
  • World of Badass: Martin, the Zombie Squad (despite being nerds), Stavarin, even Glenn. The only non-badass characters would be the cops.
  • Worst Aid: A very graphic example of why you should get used to having a superpowered Evil Hand before attempting to give cardiac massage. Or give mouth-to-mouth to a zombie.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Daniel thinks he is the Hero. He is more of The Smart Guy though he is not a bad fighter and survives the movie.