205) Dead Snow (2009) Dir: Tommy Wirkola Date Released: June 2009 Date Seen: July 1st, 2009 Rating: 3/5
The relatively subdued first 30-45 minutes of co-writer/director Tommy Wirkola's Dead Snow, or "that nazi zombie movie" to most people, is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it establishes Wirkola's skill at directing effectively moody scenes of horror--the use of shadows and the locale create the kind of atmosphere that most of the films that Wirkola namedrops over the course of the film could only dream of. On the other, it is symptomatic of the overserious intent of a formidable budding splatter artist.
Too often Wirkola refuses to block off the camera angles of the shots he's working with so that they form a coherent picture of what's going on. He tries to have his cake and eat it too by showing off that he doesn't need to show us everything. In infrequently using clumsy-looking camera angles that obscure what's happening from view, Wirkola maintains that he can be both funny and naturalistic. As in a scene where a character is beating up a crow that's hidden from view behind the boughs of a tree, that technique rarely pays off and only really looks interesting when the camera is gliding alongside the characters as they run for their lives (that's probably because tracking shots are some of the most seductive movements in cinema). When Wirkola buckles down long enough to properly frame our horny teenagers as they stave off wave after wave of nazi zombies, Dead Snow can be rather funny and good-looking. In a film where undead Germans run, talk and hunt for stolen treasure, the obvious joke is sometimes the best.