Tommy Wirkola

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (2014, Tommy Wirkola)

How do you follow up Nazi zombies? Nazi zombies fighting Russian zombies. Sort of. That aspect of Dead Snow 2 comes near the end, with director Wirkola first having to deal with the fallout from the first movie. But Russian zombies don’t really have the bite of Nazi zombies, so Wirkola just amps up everything in this film.

Vegar Hoel, sole survivor from the first movie, wakes up in the hospital to discover the doctor has given him a zombie arm. Snow 2 is never particularly original–even when it is original, it feels like Wirkola took some of his Army of Darkness fan-fic and changed Bruce Campbell to Hoel–but the excess succeeds more often than not.

The absurd factor carries over to the U.S. zombie hunters who show up–Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer and Ingrid Haas–not to mention the idiot Norwegian police chief, Hallvard Holmen. Stig Frode Henriksen plays Hoel’s reluctant sidekick.

Wirkola, Hoel and Henriksen’s script is fairly light on character development. DeBoer’s an annoying Star Wars fangirl, Henriksen’s in the closet (which is nowhere near as successful as the filmmakers seem to think). Haas doesn’t have any characteristics and Starr’s a geek thrilled to discover zombies are real. But the film’s fast-paced enough it usually doesn’t matter. Except with Holmen, who only gets a couple good jokes and lots of lame ones.

Wirkola’s direction’s adequate. Nice photography from Matthew Weston.

Snow 2 gloriously goes too far as often as possible; sometimes it works.



Directed by Tommy Wirkola; written by Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel and Wirkola; director of photography, Matthew Weston; edited by Martin Stoltz; music by Christian Wibe; production designer, Liv Ask; produced by Kjetil Omberg and Terje Stroemstad; released by Well Go USA Entertainment.

Starring Vegar Hoel (Martin), Ørjan Gamst (Herzog), Martin Starr (Daniel), Jocelyn DeBoer (Monica), Ingrid Haas (Blake), Stig Frode Henriksen (Glenn Kenneth), Hallvard Holmen (Gunga), Kristoffer Joner (Sidekick Zombie), Amrita Acharia (Reidun) and Derek Mears (Stavarin).

Dead Snow (2009, Tommy Wirkola)

I’m getting sick of running zombies. Did 28 Days Later… start the running zombies or was it the Dawn of the Dead remake? Whichever, it’s gotten to the point where it’s just too boring. Kind of like how bullet-time, by the second Matrix film, was already rote.

Dead Snow is a concept zombie movie, with a concept someone must have already exploited–Nazi zombies. It’s poorly paced–it’s halfway through before they show up in force, which leaves the first half to be the setup. And the setup isn’t scary, which is awkward. Instead, it’s an introduction to the supposed-to-be-likable twentysomething cast, who are the stupidest medical students I’ve seen in a film in quite a while. Worse, they don’t get to be likable until the zombie attack. By then, the film’s in overdrive–the present action of the film is two and a half days, but the big zombie attack sequence takes up about thirty-five percent and it’s quasi real time. So there isn’t much time to get attached to the characters, especially after they’ve been building some resistance.

Traditionally, horror films compensate by casting someone famous in a role (I don’t know if there’s anyone famous in Dead Snow… not to me, anyway) or having gory scenes (the gory scenes are somewhat tame here).

It’s a lot of really funny ideas for scenes but no idea how to execute them. Wirkola’s direction is okay–he can point the camera–but it’s tone deaf.



Directed by Tommy Wirkola; written by Stig Frode Henriksen and Wirkola; director of photography, Matthew Weston; edited by Martin Stoltz; music by Christin Wibe; production designer, Liv Ask; produced by Tomas Evjen and Terje Stroemstad; released by Euforia Film.

Starring Charlotte Frogner (Hanna), Ørjan Gamst (Herzog), Stig Frode Henriksen (Roy), Vegar Hoel (Martin), Jeppe Laursen (Erlend), Evy Kasseth Røsten (Liv), Jenny Skavlan (Chris), Bjørn Sundquist (The Wanderer), Ane Dahl Torp (Sara) and Lasse Valdal (Vegard).

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