BARE BONES: DEAD SNOW 2: RED vs. DEAD

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DEAD SNOW 2: RED vs. DEAD (2014)

I am a big fan of Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow. It’s was nothing new but, was an energetic and delightfully gory cabin in the woods/zombie flick with a group of friends battling Nazi zombies come to reclaim their gold hidden in the cabin. Wirkola’s sequel is sadly a major disappointment as it is just a silly, cash grab follow-up that has none of the inventiveness or devilish wit of the first film and doesn’t make any solid use of it’s amusing premise. This film finds sole survivor Martin (Vergar Hoel) escaping after a battle with zombified Colonel Herzog (Ørjan Gamst) and finding himself in the hospital. The bad news is that the doctors have mistakenly grafted Herzog’s arm in replace of Martin’s self-severed one and now he has some of Herzog’s strength and power. With the Nazi zombie army decending on a small Norwegian town to exact decades old revenge, Martin teams with a dorky trio of American zombie hunters (Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas) to raise a squad of Herzog murdered Russian soldiers for a zombie vs zombie showdown. If that plot sounds fun, it should be but, Wirkola seems to have lost that devious sense of humor and instead we get a goofy and by-the-numbers comedy that has none of the sly humor and vicious edge the first film has. It has a few fun moments and I laughed a few times, but, blows most attempts to do something with it’s outrageous story, especially the epic fail, zombie vs zombie last act. The film is still gory but, none of it is as inventive and rib-tickling as it was in the first film. All around it’s a soulless sequel that seemed to be made only to cash in on the first’s popularity. With his Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters being a moderately entertaining but forgettable film, maybe Tommy Wirkola has been revealed as more of a one hit wonder than a director to watch. Not unwatchable but, far from the fun blast the first film was.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: 13 EERIE and OUTPOST III: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ

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13 EERIE (2013)

Canadian zombie film, directed by Lowell Dean and written by Christian Piers Betley, is a routine one, though, entertaining enough. Flick has a group of forensics students, including scream queen Katharine Isabelle, going on a field trip to an island that once housed a prison. Unknown to them, there were experiments performed on the prisoners there that have left some of the corpses they are to examine a bit livelier and hungrier than they are counting on. The film moves quickly and has lots of action and well-executed gore but, really doesn’t do much new with the zombie formula to really set it apart from the numerous other walking dead flicks we’ve seen. Competently made and it passes the time, but ultimately it’s routine and forgettable zombie fare even with the lovely miss Isabelle as a potential meal.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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OUTPOST III: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ (2013)

I liked the first two Outpost films which tell the tale of zombified Nazi soldiers and while this latest installment isn’t outright bad, the formula is wearing thin and it is very by-the-numbers. This film directed by Kieran Parker and written by Rae Burton also takes place in WWII, like the second flick, with a group of Russian soldiers being captured by the Nazis and taken to an underground bunker where they are experimenting with the creation of super soldiers from the bodies of dead German troops and using captured prisoners as fodder for the undead’s training. Our valiant comrades must somehow fight their way out if they are to survive. The film does move quick enough, there is plentiful gore and has plenty of action, but it never really caught my interest and the endless battles with growling corpses seemed to get very monotonous after about halfway in. I suppose it’s worth a look if, like me, you enjoyed the first two films, but I think I have had enough of this series, if they decide to continue from here.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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