If you see only one film this year about Nazi zombies attacking Norwegian vacationers, I recommend Dead Snow (D¯d sn¯).
It's a setup dear to any gore-lover's heart, albeit with a Scandinavian twist: A group of party-minded twentysomethings arrives at the frozen resort village of ÿksfjord, only to find their reindeer games turn into a bloody struggle for survival. For a throng of the undead rules these icy mountains and will eviscerate anyone who dares venture there — especially sex-crazed youngsters with snowmobiles.
But here's where Tommy Wirkola's ultraviolent entry in the zombie sweepstakes goes that extra frozen mile: These aren't your typical perambulating corpses. They're Nazis, legendary for having savaged ÿksfjord's residents while extorting their treasure. The villagers ultimately rose up and dispatched them — but not, apparently, for good. (We learn all this backstory from the mysterious "Wanderer," played by the devilishly dry Bj¯rn Sundquist). No mere relentless killing machines, these ghouls of the storied Einsatzgruppen retain their Teutonic efficiency and respect for military rank — and, true to form, their lust for gold.
After our heroes' numbers are brutally reduced they begin to fight back, using everything from chainsaws to inverted sports gear (and even, in a moment of symbolic hilarity possible only in a European film, a hammer and sickle) to dismember their attackers. That's when things get super-messy, and Wirkola proves there's no better canvas for zombie goo than pristine Norwegian snow.
No wonder the pic received four 2009 Scream Award nominations, including Best Horror Movie and the highly coveted Most Memorable Mutilation. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is appropriately "extreme" for the flick's horror-meets-winter-sports theme, but the tuneful alt-metal of Animal Alpha (fronted by scary-siren vocalist Agnete Kj¯lsrud, now of the band Djerv) packs particular punch.
Cannily working the frosty terrain between straight-up scares and deadpan spoof, Wirkola is up front about the debt he owes genre giant Sam Raimi, whose Evil Dead films are an overt influence. If you enjoyed those seminal sojourns into slapstick splatter, Dead Snow will be your kind of getaway.