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Død Snø (Dead Snow)

September 1, 2009

Holidaying students awaken flesh-eating Nazi zombies, with hilarious consequences. Plotwise, that’s kind of all you need to know, to be honest.

I saw Dead Snow at the Film 4 Fright Fest event this week, for it’s grandly titled “UK Premier”, and absolutely loved it. It has a very Edgar Wright/Sam Raimi/early Peter Jackson vibe; all fast cuts, balletic energy, self-awareness and smart humour. It also has the best tagline in recent years: Ein! Zwei! Die!

As you might expect from a crowd already predisposed to such things, and being a morning show when folk were feeling ready for a day of fun, it went down an absolute storm. There were gales of laughter (luckily, in the right places), an abundance of winces and several genuine chills. It did the buiness, and it did it brilliantly.

Sadly, then, it seems that unless you’re very very lucky and some places decide to RETROSPECTIVELY (note heavy irony) show this on the big screen as a treat or part of their own festival, or whatever, you won’t get to see this in cinemas. Out in the foyer, before taking our seats, Dead Snow‘s DVD and Blue Ray releases (officially the following day) were being presaged.

How very sad. Well, not very sad; not puppy lost in a cabbage patch sad, or malfunctioning dialysis machine sad, but sad nevertheless. Dead Snow has performed pretty damn well in its native Norway, pulling in 140,000 punters during its release run. On just half a dozen screens in the US it took an understandably modest $40,000, but stuck around for five weeks. Elsewhere, in dribs and drabs it has been played to receptive but tiny audiences. For a while back in the Summer, when I became aware of it, a UK cinematic release date was mooted by some sources, then these vanished.

Tommy Wirkola, the surely-he’s-only-twelve youthful director, seemed philosophical about it in the Q&A. Applying for but not getting government help, he was told that they didn’t expect him to sell a hundred thousand tickets, even in Norway. This attitude seems to have been the major stumbling block, that and the fact that outside its home territory there are inevitably going to be subtitles, of course.

Well, Shaun of the Dead proved that high energy horror comedy can work, and Pan’s Labyrinth showed that subtitles needn’t be a hindrance either, but maybe a combination of the two is still too much of a hurdle for some distributors. If so, it’s a crying shame.

All power to Wirkola, and all power to the onward commercial sales for the disc. I don’t normally do this, but click here. Thank you.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2009 7:52 pm

    I sometimes write DVD reviews for, they mostly cover horror stuff but also some Asian arthouse which is usually my beat (such as it is).

    This was on this month’s review list, so it has as you say gone straight to DVD. I didn’t get it sadly, too much competition, though I did at least get the wonderful Korean horror musical The Fox Family which is worth looking out for.

    I’m glad to hear this is such fun, it sounded it, and while it’s a shame it’s not getting a proper release I’ll be picking it up on DVD. Nazi zombies, what’s not to love?

  2. September 1, 2009 9:23 pm

    Thanks Max, yes you’ll find it a lot of fun. The reveal is probably a minute or five late, but once it happens you really do have to hang on tight.

    Braindead is referenced via a T-shirt logo and that’s fair enough because it’s probably more Jackson-esque than anything else (and there’s nothing wrong with that).

    You are the second person to mention The Fox Family to me recently, so I’ll definitely be checking out your review. Can you post a link when it’s up?

    • September 1, 2009 9:31 pm

      Sure, though I’m about to go on holiday so it may be a link when I get back.

      Film reviews I’m still working on. I’m pretty comfortable on the literary front, I occasionally mess a blog entry up (from my perspective) but generally I write what I intended to if that makes sense, though as with all these things one learns (sometimes) from one’s mistakes. Film I’m still finding my feet to a much larger extent, it’s a whole vocabulary as of course you know and I’m just not as well informed on it as I am on literature.

      That said, one learns by doing, so…

      The Fox Family does contain a breakdancing dance-off between rioters and riot police. For that alone it deserves wider recognition.

      Thanks for this review by the way, I’ll be picking up Dead Snow, and Ein! Zwei! Die! is pure genius. One of the best film bylines in ages.

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