I watched Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead out of pure obligation. Having watched the first film and enjoying it, more than I probably should have in retrospect. While not a complete disappointment it gets pretty close. I hate it when horror comedies decided to drop the horror for their sequels, the Evil Dead films being a notable exception. It’s not only that though Dead Snow 2 also fumbles a lot when it comes to the pacing and overall story telling. With characters that are barely characters and often simply not fun… Alright, they’re a little fun. But only a little. Dead Snow 2 has also cashed out most of it sense of elevated self-awareness for simply more gore. But I’ll get more into the flaws here shortly.
Red vs. Dead picks up where the last film drops off. But not until after a poorly done recap of the previous film. Martin (Vegar Hoel) is being attacked by Herzog (Orjan Gamst) and a horde of his Nazi zombie compatriots. Martin manages to narrowly escape and in the process severs Herzogs arm. At the exact same spot where Martin cut his own off in the last film. Yeah you know where this is going. Martin passes out from either exhaustion or blood loss, my money being on the latter and crashes his car. Marin wakes up an unspecified period of time later handcuffed to a bed and the sole suspect in the murder of his friends. But on a positive the hospital attached Herzogs arm to him thinking it was his severed arm. Which soon as he learns about goes all Idle Hands, resulting in the death of several people before he is subdued and sedated. Later a young boy, Bobby (Carl-Magnus Adner) sneaks into Martins room after hearing rumors of zombies. Bobby frees Martin and tells him about the Zombie Squad, a group of zombie hunters from America. Before the zombie arm throws Bobby out a window, Martin tries to perform CPR. But the zombie arm instead crushes the boy’s chest. Martin’s zombie arm also kills a cop who tries to stop him from escaping. Martin and the Zombie Squad get in contact, the Zombie Squad agrees to help and travel to Norway. But they ask Martin to find out what the zombies are after. This sends Martin to a museum to uncover more about Herzog where he meets Glenn (Stig Frode Henriksen). Who tells him about Herzog and his final mission he was sent on by Hitler himself to wipe out a local town for its disobedience. Then the zombies attack the museum killing the tour groups waiting outside. Only Martin and Glenn survive by pretending to be mannequins. The two also bear witness to Herzog’s newest power, the ability to raise others as zombie Nazis. After Herzog and his zombies depart, Martin and Glenn survey the carnage and learn the Martin also possess the power to raise zombies. Though these loyal to him or at least the sidekick he makes (Kristoffer Joner). Who gets killed by the Zombie Squad, Daniel (Martin Starr), Monica (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Blake (Ingrid Hass) when they arrive. But it’s ok because Martin brings him right back. With Martins new power, Daniel hatches a plot to raise Soviet Zombie to battle Herzog, while the others stall for time…
This feels like two different films that got slammed against each other very hard. The strongest horror elements are at the beginning of the film and end soon as Bobby is killed. After that, the film has a sharp tone shift towards humor. Hell during his death it’s played up for laughs. Though once the film abandons all pretense of horror is when it actually starts getting good.
Once again we never get a real explanation about Herzog and his zombies. If nothing else the history gets more convoluted actually. Which was more than a little surprising. Not as surprising as how quickly the story dropped the evil arm cliche sub-plot. Up until he’s hiding from Herzog in the museum it’s all murder happy. After that it’s largely under his control and is never again a serious problem.
The acting is incredibly corny and far campier than I like. All the characters come off as idiots, even the ones that are supposed to be the nerds. Honestly this is where the film stepped down the most from its predecessor.
Final thoughts, Meh? The last half of the film is enjoyable and there are some genuinely funny moments. But is mostly unmemorable. If you liked the first film and wanted to see where things went from there? Sure it’s worth seeing, but not really otherwise. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead is an excellent example of the unworthy sequel. At least it is for me. 4/10