Excellent use of intestines.” For a certain segment of the movie-going audience, that’s all the recommendation Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead needs. But director Tommy Wirkola’s inventiveness with splatter extends well beyond the splash zone. His 2009 breakout, Dead Snow, was in many ways a standard horror siege film: good guys inside the cabin, Nazi zombies outside.
After a high-speed recap, Dead Snow 2 broadens the canvas almost immediately. Martin (Vegar Hoel), the original’s sole survivor (who chopped his own arm off), wakes up in a hospital with the zombie leader’s arm sewn onto his stump…and, Evil Dead–style, it has a mind of its own. Herzog, the chief Nazi, is marching his troops toward a village he’d been ordered to exterminate decades before, and it’s up to Martin and a cadre of American zombie-hunting nerds (led by Silicon Valley‘s Martin Starr) to stop them…even if it means raising an army of undead Russian soldiers.
The film is playful throughout: One marvelous running gag features a put-upon, sad-sack zombie; a venal local sheriff, completely out of his depth, provides more laughs. Unfortunately, the shoddy treatment of the film’s sole LGBT character and a tendency to use people in wheelchairs as punchlines mar this otherwise delightful gruesome confection.