DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD (2014, Tommy Wirkola)
Tommy Wirkola’s original 2009 DEAD SNOW was a mediocre but promising effort — nice photography of the Arctic Circle landscape, good comic horror tone, but unoriginal plotting and so-so acting — and his sequel is a solid step up. The budget is astronomically bigger, so we get broader setpieces, a larger canvas, and a lot more gore: the body count is huge and thus opportunities for hilarious dismemberments are plentiful. While this one has a lot more jokes than DEAD SNOW, the completion percentage is lower; and when too many of them fall flat, we’re left with far too many scenes of bland exposition (including an incredibly pointless set of characters at a police station that goes literally nowhere) and not enough Martin Starr being hilarious. 15 minutes shorter and this thing would sizzle. But when the jokes land, they land with plenty of gusto. I still wish the Nazi-zombie element here had some undercurrent of political satire or bite to it (pun intended) but Wirkola seems only to have frivolous entertainment on his mind.