I practically almost made the mistake of choosing not to see this one in the theater. As it was only playing for 6 days at one of the local cinemas here in town that show rare, harder to find films that mostly go unnoticed by the general populace. What sealed the deal was revisiting the first one and watching the DVD extras. In it there’s a “From East To West” segment, that showed writer/director Tommy Wirkola and the group of actors flying from Norway to Utah to premiere the first film at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2009. What they captured was the uproarious audience reveling in all of the chaos and mayhem that was going on on screen. It didn’t look like there was a single member in the audience who didn’t look like they were enjoying the hell out of what they were witnessing on screen. A similar experience that I had with the first film except, unlike them, I had missed seeing it in the theater and wound up watching it on DVD on my own. Without a captive audience. I thought to myself well, given how much I loved the first installment and how much fun it looked like seeing it in a packed house had, I’m going to make a game time decision to see it on its last day at the last showing of the night. After some ramblings on with the person I bought the ticket from. Who had apparently really liked it and appeared disappointed at her employer’s decision to shut it down after one week (apparently it didn’t do very well in terms of ticket sales) I sat down and watched after one person after the next pile into the theater and knew I was in for a treat. As it seemed like the only way to see this type of film – with an audience.
The second one picks up from exactly where we left off with the first. Except in traditional sequel fashion, Wirkola throws us a quick montage of the series of events that transpired in the first. Martin, the only remaining survivor from the first, manages to escape a horde of Nazi zombies but gets into an accident. Through a white gaze we see him waking up in a hospital. Apparently Martin survived the accident and comes out uninjured. That is until the doctors tell him that they’ve gone ahead and reswen his amputated arm that he lost in the first. Not only that, but they’re pinning on h the murders that occurred in the first film. I mean after all, who in their right mind would believe he lost it because of Nazi zombies? Meanwhile, Colonel Herzog is back with force, and realized that he now holds a new gift. One that should ensure his agenda of complete and total Nazi zombie takeover. Martin also realizes he also has a new gift (or curse?) with his new reswen arm. He manages to escape in a scene of both absolute hilarity and depravity. Only to wind up at a WWII museum. That holds something that Colonel Herzog and his band of Nazi zombies want. Enter in the “Zombie Squad”. A group of rag tag zombie hunting wannabes who are about as novice as they come. Still, they hear of Martin’s situation of trying to fiend off zombies, and consider it their god given duty to fly from America to Norway to help. Both they, Martin, and the Norway police all band together and come up with a plan to reawaken the Russian soldiers from the dead to help them fight off the Nazi zombie clan. And that’s really when the fun starts, and an all out war ensues.
This movie is about as much fun as movies get. For those who are fans of the genre of course. If Wirkola brought his 70% arsenal the first go ahead, this time he goes all out. And proves why he is the reigning champ of the post-aught horror-comedy genre. Wirkola takes every first admenment right of what we’re allowed to show in film, and gives a big middle finger to censorship. If you thought the first one was sick. You really have no idea what you’re in for with the second. It purposefully chooses to go leaps and bounds above the first one, and presents us with something that’s equally as funny, demented, and balls to the wall sick, as filmmaking possibly can go. As if you thought you saw it all in the first one, this one has Nazi zombies wrecking havoc by pretty much any means possible, on the unsuspecting local townspeople. Wirkola raises it a notch with the level of over the top violence. A feat that I honestly didn’t think was achievable coming off the first. The main difference between this one and the last, is that if the first one relied more on its horror leanings, this one is far more on the comedy side. And effectively does so might I add. The last 20 minutes is complete and absolute insanity. With a German vs. Russian fight finale that rivals anything that we were shown in both 1996’s “Braveheart” or 2002’s “Gangs of New York”. That, and just when you think things are finally over. Wirkola hits the audience with an ending montage of a familiar classic rock background song that’s pure comedic genius and had the entire audience clapping when the house lights came on. Despite its more intentional comedic and sillier leanings, which I can’t see everyone liking, this is about as good as horror sequels go. Or better yet, sequels in general. A must see especially for fans of the first.
Grade: strong B