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Film / Dead Snow

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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.

In 2014 , a sequel was released.

Tropes in this film:

  • Artistic License History: A number of the zombies, including Herzog, are dressed in the prewar all-black SS uniform, even though they were stated to have been killed in World War II, long after the Nazis discontinued the all-black uniform except for dress purposes (although to be fair to Dead Snow, this is a common license taken with Nazis).
    • This is averted, however, in one other area. The zombies are said to Einsatzkommando who were part of the SD, the SS' security service, which didn't have the "SS" lightning bolts on the collars. The movie correctly depicts them without the lightning bolts.
  • Asshole Victim: The Wanderer, who may have had a good goal of scaring the gang off the mountain to prevent bloodshed, certainly could have done it in a much better way. He's quickly killed by the very thing he was warning people about and doubtful many people shed a tear for the coffee insulting stranger.
  • Audible Sharpness: For a chainsaw, a rifle, and even a sledgehammer.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The zombies get all the gold while no human characters seem to survive to see the credits.
  • 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 snowmobile.
  • "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: Once found becomes the weapon of choice for Martin, who wealds it to great effect in a brawl with a group of zombies at the climax of the film.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: Appears that way originally, but the sequel reveals Martin survived.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heartbroken Badass: 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.
  • Homage:
  • Hope Spot: The film ends on Martin giving the zombie's what they desire, precious metals and valuables. He somehow manages to find the cars after chopping his own arm off and after a struggle is all set to escape the mountain. Only for a gold coin to drop out of his pocket, which has attracted the attention of Herzog.
  • 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 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.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The whole movie is full of defeated efforts leading to Total Party Kill.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.