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.
Filmaker Tommy Wirkola’s horror/comedy sequel Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead is arriving in the US on October 10th, 2014 and as a huge fan of Dead Snow, I can’t wait. Right now we have the official US release poster and trailer for this eagerly awaited 2nd installment to hold us over.
I loved Tommy Wirkola’s fun zombie comedy/gore fest Dead Snow and based on this new gore filled trailer, I can’t wait to see the sequel. The film has acquired a USA distribution deal with Well Go USA so, hopefully we will be seeing it soon!
Warning: Trailer is graphic!
HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013)
Hansel and Gretel: WItch Hunters is released on blu-ray and DVD today so, I thought I’d post my review of this comedy/horror!
When you go to see a movie called Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters, obviously you don’t go in expecting Shakespeare but, I did expect it to have a bit more of the giddy fun that Tommy Wirkola brought to his gory zombie blast, Dead Snow. And while I was amused and entertained by H&G, it actually took itself a little too seriously for a film about fairy tale characters grown up to be vengeful witch hunters. With an outlandish story like this, I can appreciate giving the material some respect and not making a joke out of it but, to really make it work you have to give it a bit more over the top like Wirkola did so well with Dead Snow. H&G has action that is bloody and fast moving but, the film needed a bit more of a sense of humor then a few curse laden quips and breaking the same person’s nose, twice. This story of the fairy tale siblings coming up against a very powerful witch (Famke Janssen) with a devious plot to free her kind from the dangers of fire resembles the far more ridiculous Van Helsing to a degree but, could have used a bit of that flick’s over the top energy, just not as out of control (though that does make VH a ‘so bad it’s good’ treat). The film is well done and uses a lot more practical effects then expected and the minimal use of CGI was very refreshing. The cast handles their parts very well with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton having a good time as the badass witch killers and they played their roles with a serious approach but, not without a quick wink every now and then to let you know they are having a good time. Famke Janssen plays her part as the formidable witch with some over the top relish and that made a nice contrast to her stoic adversaries. Rounding out the cast Peter Stormare isn’t given much to do as the town sheriff who is not happy that H&G have come to do his job but, he is more lively here then in The Last Stand. The film looks great. The sets and costumes are really nicely designed as are the various witches and their Troll, Edward (Derek Mears). The cinematography is lush and the locations beautiful. Visually this is a really cool flick. But, as said, Wirkola gives us a fast pace and some nice gory action scenes to entertain us but, he just needed to inject a little more fun in the proceedings to make this a real standout treat. Overall I did enjoy it but, it could have been so much more of a blast if Wirkola wasn’t trying a bit too hard to not turn the material into a joke. There is a fine line to making a movie like this and Dead Snow proves he can walk it just fine. So why didn’t he? An amusing and entertaining enough viewing but, kinda forgettable when all is said and done.
3 bitchy witches as the lush visuals and design, plus Gemma Arterton’s fine butt in leather, earn it a few extra points.