Here's another one of those movies that has been on my radar for several years now, solely based on the subject matter of "Nazi Zombies". Because sometimes, even I can be a gore hound, and what better way to have fun with that than offing something one couldn't possibly have much sympathy for? There is something more satisfying in seeing them get treated like slabs of Hollywood meat, and I believe there is good reason this has actually become a bit of a cliché over the years. Hell, 'South Park' even jokes about it in 'Stick of Truth'.
But please don't get me wrong, I do stick to the fact that I enjoy "human" stories, and often enjoy seeing a certain "good" side to Nazis - I know how that sounds, but 'Schindler's List' is a fine example of this. Or a scene in 'Band of Brothers' I recall with an American talking to a Nazi soldier, only to find out they're from the same town, and that particular German was simply called into action, fighting through no real fault of his own. But with that said, this is NOT that. This is, as the trailer suggests, 'Evil Dead' meets 'Dawn of the Dead', and comes to us from Norwegian writer/director Tommy Wirkola - the guy who also did 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'. And while that probably doesn't sound impressive, I can say with all honesty that I had a great time with this.
We meet seven students on Easter vacation, headed to a small cabin near Øksfjord, Norway. In one car, Martin (Geir Vegar Hoel), Roy (Stig Frode Henriksen), Vegard (Lasse Valdal) and Erland (Jeppe Beck Laursen). In the other car, Hanna (Charlotte Frogner), Liv (Evy Kasseth Røsten) and Chris (Jenny Skavlan). Once there, they are met by a mysterious stranger, or harbinger, if you will (Bjørn Sundquist) who warns them of the supposedly cursed history of the area. Once occupied by Nazis, led by the Hitler-paralleling Herzog (Ørjan Gamst), they tortured the locals until there was an eventual uprising towards the end of the war. Surviving Nazis, including Herzog, were chased into the woods, and eventually presumed to have frozen to death. In reality, however, their fate was much worse.
Soon enough, things go pretty much as you expect. Group in cabin finds foreign object (in this case, stolen gold) and unleashes unspeakable evil that pursues them through the rest of the film. So in many ways, it's relatively typical - 'Cabin in the Woods' even uses this scenario as a sort of farce on American horror. And while it does come down to survival, it also has something to say about greed, and even deeper things I caught, like how our rage during times of war can lead to hurting our loved ones. If you've seen it movie, you know exactly the scene I mean. So I can't really say that there's no heart put into this. It also has a solid sense of humour, and even what could be one of my new favourite all-time deaths.
The film's real star, however, is just the gorey kills. It's a lot like 'Evil Dead' that way, where the more splatter there is going on, the more into it you are. If they decide to make this a musical one day, it may also involve a "Splatter Zone", just like 'Evil Dead' did. I think in many ways this is very typical for both the zombie subgenre and the horror genre. But there were just enough moments in here to make it incredibly fun for me. If you are a gore hound of any kind, I can recommend this one pretty highly as something to just sit back and enjoy with a bag of popcorn. Just one more thing though - don't expect a happy ending.