As a big fan of Tommy Wirkola’s 2009’s horror/sorta-comedy Dead Snow, I’m really on the fence when it comes to the upcoming sequel, Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead. It appears to be more of a passion project for Wirkola and less a way to capitalize on the cult success of the first film, plus it has the awesomeness that is Martin Starr. But it’s a sequel to a Nazi zombie movie, so it’s handicapped just by existing, and it’s got one of the most direct-to-video titles I’ve ever heard in my life. In a push to build excitement for its upcoming premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, they’ve released an international poster, and it’s partly as off-putting as the title itself. Luckily, the official synopsis has also been unveiled, and all previous reservations go flying through the window, cutting themselves open and bleeding all over the place in the process.
The poster features what is presumably Colonel Herzog, somehow a Nazi zombie that is more evil and heinous than all the other Nazi zombies, standing face to face with who I’m guessing is Martin (Vegar Hoel), the sole survivor from the first film. He had to chainsaw off his own arm after getting bitten in the first one, so I’m not sure why he has two of them here. But it’s clear that his shirt doesn’t have a sleeve on that arm, and it looks like he’s been bitten. Maybe I’m just not good at recognizing blood-covered Norwegian actors from films that I haven’t seen in three or four years.
And while the poster’s scratchy aesthetic is pretty cool — it looks like the characters are standing on the outskirts of a volcano/tornado/thunderstorm — the mini-tagline is “Heil Five!” and that makes me want to go dunk my head in the snow. I’m not going to sit here and wax on about how stupid that is, but that kind of a line makes this sound like a spoof rather than just a film with some funny parts. Admittedly, if the tagline was “Like Hot Shots, but with zombies,” I would be even more interested. I’m hard to please, I guess.
Except for when there are loads of blood and guts involved. The synopsis confirms that the sequel begins right where the original left off, with Martin continuing his battle against the swarming undead. No mention is made of Starr, Derek Mears, or the American team of zombie killers, but it says Wirkola has devised “more inventive ways to maim and dismember than you ever thought possible.” Considering I only thought it was possible to maim and dismember in two ways, I expect my mind to be blown. The last line is almost enough to elicit a cheer: “Colonel Herzog is back, and he is not to be fucked with.” If only every film’s synopsis could be so honest.
Expect to hear more about Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead in the coming months. That is, unless the ground bursts open with the bodies of the worst war criminals ever to exist. We’ll probably just stay huddled in our closets if that happens. For more of the director’s hyper-violent vision, check out the Kickstarter project video Wirkola used to elicit extra funding for the film.