Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movie Review: Dead Snow 2009

I have a thing for foreign horror movies, I admit it. I get so disgusted by the lack of true horror and originality of the American films, that I actively search out foreign films. I have seen many very entertaining movies as a result and would like to pass on my reviews of them so that more people may enjoy and appreciate them. Once such gem is Dead Snow. This is a Norwegian zombie horror/comedy film that was released in 2009. Zombies, you say? Zombies have been done to death, right? Wrong! The genius of this movie is that it combines zombies and Nazis.

The film starts out with a group of young folks arriving at a cabin near Oksfjord for some fun and relaxation. Right away, they realize that one of their number, Sarah, is missing and not yet at the cabin as arranged. The group decides to continue on to the cabin and wait for her to show up. Later that night a strange old man shows up and tells them a very odd local story involving an invasion of World War II Nazis and stolen gold. He goes on to say that the locals formed an uprising and killed many of the Nazis, while others, including the leader, Herzog froze to death somewhere in the mountains.

The next morning, Sara's boyfriend Vegard decides to take the snowmobile and go look for Sara. Instead he finds a tent with the mutilated body of the old man. What follows is a horror/comedy delight of zombie Nazis, chainsaws, axes, and murder with a deadly snowmobile. This film is the closest thing I have seen to Evil Dead. It's at times gory, entertaining and even has some funny American pop culture references.

I loved this movie and would recommend it to anyone that likes movies such as Evil Dead, Dead and Breakfast, Dead Alive, Night of the Demons, Cabin Fever and Slither. Dead Snow is subtitled but don't let that scare you. If you are reading this, then you can surely watch this movie and read the subtitles!

Book Review: The Breach by Patrick Lee

I just finished reading The Breach by Patrick Lee. This is his debut literary effort. I read his bio after I finished reading the first book in his two part Travis Chase series, The Breach and Ghost Country. Patrick was born in western Michigan in 1976.  He wrote and sold two screenplays in his twenties, but they were never produced. He turned to writing novels and now in his early thirties, he has published The Breach and Ghost Country. I haven't read Ghost Country which continues where The Breach left off yet, but I will add the review once I have.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Breach. It was one of those books that I couldn't put down. I started it yesterday afternoon and finished about 24 hours later. The story revolves around the main character, Travis Chase. The unusual part about his character is that through most of the book, we are unsure of weather he is a good guy or a bad guy. We want to believe that he is good, but there are elements throughout the story that warn us that this may not be the case. Many times characters in books are one dimensional and either strictly good or bad, however, by revealing small tidbits throughout the story, the author is creating a mystery and is keeping the reader guessing. I enjoyed this aspect as well as finding the actual story very entertaining and even mostly believable.

The actual story is about a man, Travis Chase, who upon being released from prison for a crime that is revealed in small glimpses throughout the story, decides to camp out in the Alaskan wilderness.  One night he hears a strange sound during a thunderstorm which turns out to have been a jetliner crashing a few miles away. Travis climbs down to help the survivors, but quickly realizes that survivors are not likely and that this is no ordinary jetliner. The storm that apparently brought the airplane down, was three days ago and no one is even searching for it. Things get even more strange once he investigates the inside of the airplane and finds the  passengers shot dead inside. Among the dead is the First Lady holding a note urging whoever finds it to go after and kill their attackers. What follows is a mix of believable action/adventure and science fiction including futuristic artifacts, some of which are benign and helpful and others of which are purely destructive and so dangerous they could destroy the world and kill everyone.

The other main character is a strong female scientist by the name of Paige Campbell, the only survivor of the downed jetliner. She decides to trust Travis and bring him in on the top secret organization that she works for. Can she really trust him or is she making the worst mistake of her life? Can they save the planet together or does Travis have other plans? Read the book and find out!