Tag Archives: Derek Mears

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (2014, Tommy Wirkola)

How do you follow up Nazi zombies? Nazi zombies fighting Russian zombies. Sort of. That aspect of Dead Snow 2 comes near the end, with director Wirkola first having to deal with the fallout from the first movie. But Russian zombies don’t really have the bite of Nazi zombies, so Wirkola just amps up everything in this film.

Vegar Hoel, sole survivor from the first movie, wakes up in the hospital to discover the doctor has given him a zombie arm. Snow 2 is never particularly original–even when it is original, it feels like Wirkola took some of his Army of Darkness fan-fic and changed Bruce Campbell to Hoel–but the excess succeeds more often than not.

The absurd factor carries over to the U.S. zombie hunters who show up–Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer and Ingrid Haas–not to mention the idiot Norwegian police chief, Hallvard Holmen. Stig Frode Henriksen plays Hoel’s reluctant sidekick.

Wirkola, Hoel and Henriksen’s script is fairly light on character development. DeBoer’s an annoying Star Wars fangirl, Henriksen’s in the closet (which is nowhere near as successful as the filmmakers seem to think). Haas doesn’t have any characteristics and Starr’s a geek thrilled to discover zombies are real. But the film’s fast-paced enough it usually doesn’t matter. Except with Holmen, who only gets a couple good jokes and lots of lame ones.

Wirkola’s direction’s adequate. Nice photography from Matthew Weston.

Snow 2 gloriously goes too far as often as possible; sometimes it works.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Tommy Wirkola; written by Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel and Wirkola; director of photography, Matthew Weston; edited by Martin Stoltz; music by Christian Wibe; production designer, Liv Ask; produced by Kjetil Omberg and Terje Stroemstad; released by Well Go USA Entertainment.

Starring Vegar Hoel (Martin), Ørjan Gamst (Herzog), Martin Starr (Daniel), Jocelyn DeBoer (Monica), Ingrid Haas (Blake), Stig Frode Henriksen (Glenn Kenneth), Hallvard Holmen (Gunga), Kristoffer Joner (Sidekick Zombie), Amrita Acharia (Reidun) and Derek Mears (Stavarin).


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Truth in Journalism (2013, Joe Lynch)

Truth in Journalism is narratively broken. The gimmick is it’s a short French documentary about a New York city photojournalist (Ryan Kwanten), set sometime during the eighties. The setting isn’t immediately clear, which is a problem because otherwise it looks like director Joe Lynch just ran it all through a crappy video filter. Once the setting’s established though, the problems with the fake film stock go away.

Kwanten’s magnetic lead performance also helps the technical problems cease to matter. His morally bankrupt narrator is hilarious, getting past all the dialogue bumps.

But Journalism is actually a comic book movie (just not an official one). When they get to that moment–it’s horror oriented–things fall apart. The narrative structure breaks, the special effects just aren’t good enough. It’s a shame.

But then–breaking the narrative more–there’s another scene and it’s hilarious and it redeems the entire short. Well, almost.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Joe Lynch; screenplay by Lynch, based on a character created by David Michelinie, Mike Zeck and Todd McFarlane; director of photography, Will Barratt; produced by Adi Shankar.

Starring Ryan Kwanten (Eddie), Billy Khoury (Director) and Derek Mears (Lester).


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