The sequel to the cult horror comedy from Director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) stars Vegar Hoel (Dead Snow, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), Martin Starr (Knocked Up, Superbad), Jocelyn DeBoer (Stuck Like Chuck) and Ingrid Haas (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Picking up immediately where the original left off, the film wastes no time getting right to the gore-filled action, leaving a bloody trail of intestines in its wake. Wirkola comes up with more inventive ways to maim and dismember than anyone ever thought possible. Combining wry humor with horrific worst-case scenarios, this follow-up to the 2009 Midnight classic shocked the weak-of-heart and delighted even the most hard-core fans of the horror genre when it made its debut the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
There are tons of zombie films out there in the world today. Everywhere you look, there are zombies. It's the popular thing in our culture these days. I only wish they were as popular when I was in high-school and college, but I digress. Since the zombie phenomenon is showing no sign of slowing down, there is a wide variety of different types of zombies to add to this ever expanding genre. Perhaps one of my favorite type of zombie film is the nazi zombie genre, which has been around for longer than you might have imagined. It's such an outlandish idea, but is always quite fun to see on screen.
In 2009, we received the ever popular nazi zombie film 'Dead Snow', which centered around a group of friends that traveled to a cabin to enjoy some relaxation and snow sports. But when they came across some actual gold, it awoke a nazi german army from underground who were hellbent on brains, blood, and that gold. Five years later, we have a sequel to that film called 'Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead', and this sequel is just as good if not better than its predecessor. I definitely did nazi that coming. (I'm sorry, but I had to.) In an excellent homage to 'Army of Darkness', 'Red Dead 2' starts off with a narration from Martin (Vegar Hoel), the sole survivor from the first film, who gives us an excellent and gory recap of the first film, which leads us to the current movie, which literally starts off right where the last one left us with Martin trying to escape a giant nazi zombie army led by a zombie named Herzog.
This most excellent sequel mixes some brilliant and gut busting laughs with some over-the-top and quite good visual effects of blood and internal organs. Not to mention all the dramatic and horror angles this film has too. But mostly, it has tons of moments where you want to yell out loud, "That was Awesome." Martin has lost his arm due to a zombie bite, which he cut off to stop the infection (again, an 'Evil Dead 2' reference). In his escape, Herzog, the zombie nazi commander loses his arm too. After an accident, Martin wakes up in the hospital where he sees he has his arm re-attached, but unfortunately it's not his arm.
It's Herzog's arm, which takes on a life of its own as it begins to attack people. The police and detectives believe that Martin is a serial killer and responsible for killing his friends from the first film. But he tells them of the zombie nazis who were responsible for the mayhem, and much to his dismay, everyone thinks he is insane, because who would believe such nonsense besides you and I. Martin manages to escape again with the help of an American kid who tells them there is a zombie death squad in America who can help him. A phone call to the zombie death squad sets things in motion, but we quickly see that this ferocious death squad is anything but dangerous, but rather three siblings in their parent's basement, preparing for the zombie apocalypse from what they've seen in their favorite movies and tv shows. Martin Star (Freaks and Geeks) and Ingrid Haas (Scott Pilgrim) are among the squad as they actually head out to Norway to fight of the zombies.
Martin meets up with some fellow zombie killers as the zombie nazi army is closing in, destroying everything in its path. But luckily for the humans, Martin's newly zombified arm summons another undead army from underground. This time it's a large army of Russians who were killed by the nazis during WWII, and want revenge, hence the 'Red vs Dead' title. There are so many moments and scenes where you just want to join the action with these characters. It's that entertaining. And the comedy comes full force throughout the film. It's never cheesy as the filmmakers were well aware of the type of film they were making.
There are some surprisingly excellent performances here and the visual effects are very good, considering the low budget this movie had. 'Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead' is as much fun as you can have with a zombie move, and almost instantly requires another viewing right after the end credits finish.
'Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. This highly entertaining zombie film certainly has a great picture, and if you're a fan of the blood and guts aspect to the zombie genre, then you're in luck because the detail here is quite vivid and sharp, hence you'll be able to see every tiny detail in each wound, intestine, and body organ. Closeups also reveal a wealth of detail from individual hairs to the amazing makeup effects of the zombies to the great stitching in the S.S. uniforms.
This digital film never looks flat or murky. Background objects are also clear, giving the image depth. Colors pop of the screen most of the time. There are several scenes where the director covered the screen in a blue hue for effect, but other than that, the blood is red, the fields are a beautiful green, and the skies are a great blue. Skin tones are natural and the black levels are consistently deep and inky. There are no instances of and banding, aliasing, or dirt that pops up, although there were some minor hints of video noise, but it's nothing to write home about, leaving this video presentation with top marks.
This release comes with a great lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix that is a fully immersive horror zombie track. There is an option to pick an international version of the film, which will give you the option to choose a Norwegian or a French audio track. Both sound great. The sound effects are excellent here and picks up on each of the gory and sloppy zombie sounds.
Gun fire is powerful and each hit, kick, growl, and bite are loud, robust, and lively. Every sound effect is prioritized very well and completely immerses you in the center of all the zombie action. Ambient noises also sound full. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, and hissing. This is exactly what you want from a thrilling zombie film. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is very wide with some great bass kicking in at times, leaving this audio mix with top marks.
International Version of 'Dead Snow 2' (HD, 101 Mins.) - This is a version of the film you can choose from the menu, which is basically the same film as the theatrical American one. Only difference is that one is in English and one is in Norwegian.
Audio Commentary - Director and co-writer Tommy Wirkola as well as co-writer and actor Stig Frode Henriksen deliver the goods on this commentary track. They both discuss what it was like to make the film, work with all the actors, and give us some fun anecdotes from the set. There are even some good impressions between these two, but there are a few long pauses in this commentary.
Short Film: 'Armen' (HD, 14 Mins.) - This is a similarly themed short film that is quite fun to watch, however the quality is fairly bad.
VFX Featurette (HD, 2 Mins.) - A very short montage over music of some of the digital effects that went into making the film.
Dead Snow Comic Book (HD, 3 Mins.) - A digital comic that is poorly conceived here. A physical copy would have been better.
Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
'Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead' is an excellent zombie film. It's some of the most fun you can have with the zombie genre and the filmmakers executed every last kill, piece of dialogue, and comedic moment with perfect timing. It's amongst my favorite of the genre now. The video and audio presentations are both great, but the extras are a little scarce. I was hoping for a little more behind the scenes type of action or at least a blooper reel or an in depth visual effects bonus feature. Still, if you're a fan of the zombie genre, this is one you can sink your teeth into and add to your shelf. Highly Recommended!