Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead Blu-ray Review
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Written by Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel
2014, Region A, 100 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on December 9th, 2014
Vegar Hoel as Martin
Ørjan Gamst as Herzog
Martin Starr as Daniel
Jocelyn DeBoer as Monica
Ingrid Haas as Blake
I am always fraught with fear at the prospects of a "highly anticipated sequel". Will it live up to the well-loved prior installment? Or will it be a waste of time that I'll repress in the vault of my memory alongside Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of Crystal Skull? With so much that can go wrong and become lacklustre or tired, fans can rest assured that Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead is an extremely fun time that sets itself apart from the first film, and raises the stakes in insanity by being a downright nauseating splatterfest from beginning to end.
Our star-crossed hero Martin returns, starting immediately where the first movie ended. With a piece of Nazi gold in his lap in the supposed safety of his car, Martin is attacked by Herzog, the angry leader of the hordes of zombie soldiers. In an attempt to escape, Martin is badly wounded and Herzog's arm is ripped off. Martin then wakes up in hospital to learn that the doctors saw his body, lacking an arm (because he amputated it himself in Dead Snow), and the detached arm of Herzog, and then opted to stitch Martin together because they assumed it was his. After being surprised by the brute force that he possesses in his new arm, Martin discovers that he not only is superhumanly strong, but he also has the ability to resurrect the dead. Teaming up with a Zombie Squad lead by Daniel (Martin Starr), Martin seeks to exact his revenge on Herzog and put a stop to the zombie invasion.
Although this second installment lacks some of the wit that the first film is laden with, it unapologetically makes no attempts to be Dead Snow. It has a thin revenge premise that is brimming full with gross-outs and gore (one could easily make a drinking game out of how many heads get crushed), making it a ridiculously enjoyable viewing. The special effects in Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead are also worth noting – as the filmmakers clearly had more money to work with after the success of the first movie, and met the new limits by putting an Evil Dead 2 amount of blood and guts onto our screens.
Video and Audio:
The 16:9 aspect ratio on this film is crisp and bright, similarly to the prior film.
The stereo 5.1 HD surround sound very capably balances scenes. I watched this movie late at night with others sleeping in the house and was never jolted or irritated by the volume.
Along with the original trailer, the special features on this disc include the international version of the film, DØD SNØ 2, which differs only slightly from the American version. All together there are only a small handful of scenes that stand apart, where even the scenes with American actors are still spoken in English. It is certainly a treat to include on the disc, but perhaps not as exciting as it seems for passive fans of the movie.
Up next is the audio commentary with director, Tommy Wirkola and writer, Stig Frode Henriksen. The two men are well spoken and intelligent, in spite of their silly impressions of Sean Connery and multiple bawdy jokes. Some commentary for films can be grating to listen to, but this is an insightful and funny listen.
The short film Armen follows a pale loner who accidentally loses his arm in a workplace accident. A believer of religion, he attributes miracle to the fact that his arm grows back. It is an uncomfortable and funny piece that is worthy of as many cringes as there are chuckles.
There is a VFX featurette that presents some of the several scenes that required computer graphic special effects. It playfully goes step by step to show the viewer how some stunts are rendered, and is a very interesting short piece for people who are interested in FX makeup.
The final feature is a Dead Snow comic book, which flips through each page after a few seconds, giving time to let the viewer read it. It follows Colonel Herzog before his transformation into the undead, and is an interesting and visually pleasing treat for fans. It is, however, better suited to bigger TVs and people with better eyesight - both of which I do not have. The print is quite small, making it hard to see.