Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Airline Disaster | Dead Snow

By Steve Anderson
July 1st, 2010

Airline DisasterAirline Disaster
***
DVD
Directed by John "Jay" Willis Jr.
Written by Paul Sinor, Victoria Dadi
Starring Meredith Baxter, Scott Valentine, Lindsey McKeon
Produced by David Michael Latt
NR
90 mins
2010

So the folks out at The Asylum sent me a copy of Airline disaster. It's been a while since I've tackled an Asylum title in this space, thus it's pretty exciting for me to talk about.

Especially since The Asylum started doing almost nothing but big movie knockoffs, Airline Disaster is particularly exciting in that it resembles nothing else.

Airline Disaster gives us an interesting premise, for a change--a new kind of superaircraft, largely automated from takeoff to landing, is rolling out, backup piloted by the brother of the current President of the United States. Thus, the Aryan Brotherhood smells an opportunity--with several of its members in prison, several others take the pilot's family hostage and use them in a bid to get the President to release the imprisoned Nazis.

The Asylum has often managed to do some nice disaster movies, and this is one of them. Frankly, it's entertaining, and that's the truest measure of quality in a movie. Sure, it's a bit on the low-budget side--maybe a LOT on the low-budget side--but they've actually managed to figure out how to use their budget to the fullest. It's simple, but it's good. It's good old fashioned disaster fluff with plenty of gunplay and narrow escapes. Everything you'd look for in a disaster movie is right here.

The ending is pretty much what you'd expect here--I won't spoiler, but suffice it to say there'll be no big surprises and everything is well in hand.

The special features include a making-of featurette, a blooper reel, audio options, and trailers for The 7 Adventures of Sinbad, Mega Piranha, 6 Guns, Sherlock Holmes, Meteor Apocalypse, Airline Disaster and Cheerleader Camp.

All in all, I'll give The Asylum plenty of credit here--this is a fine movie that's got a lot going for it, and since it's not a direct ripoff of anything I can think of, I call that good enough!

Dead SnowDead Snow
***
DVD
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Written by Stig Frode Henriksen, Tommy Wirkola
Starring Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal
R
91 mins
2009

Today is something of an exciting affair for me, folks--because today, we're going to talk about a movie I've been dying to get my hands on for some time now. Today we're talking Dead Snow, a movie that brings together some of the greatest things in horror: chainsaws, Nazis, zombies and classical music.

Dead Snow follows a group of med students who are plunging off into the depths of the frozen north of Norway (and if you've been to Norway, you'll know a surprisingly large amount of it qualifies as "frozen north") for a wild weekend of skiing, snowmobiling, getting drunk and having sex. And all goes as planned, for a while anyway, until they find a box full of old coins and watches and whatnot. They think they've managed to get rich besides having a great weekend, but when a complement of frozen zombie Nazis emerges to reclaim that lost booty, then the med students will find themselves fighting for their very lives against the horde.

I was serious about that, by the way. Like I said in the plot synopsis, Nazis and zombies, or more accurately, zombie Nazis, which is actually slightly cooler. And there is plenty of classical music--I recognized, at the very least, Beethoven's Ode to Joy and Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.

The rest of the movie is a little bit on the predictable side, sadly--it's a lot like other horror movies we've seen. In fact, Dead Snow will gleefully describe other horror flicks that it's a lot like, with one great scene involving a couple of the kids in question say: "how many horror movies have started out just like this?" (or an approximation thereof).

Yet, at the same time, it's done a lot right. There's plenty of action in here, with a comic bent that's downright irresistable in some places. Though oddly, the farther in you get, the less comic the action is and the more horrendously bloody. It's almost as though they switched to a whole different script midway through the movie.

I'll say this much, though, I've never seen a snowmobile used to kill in so many different ways before.

The ending is about as bloodsoaked a romp as you might expect, with the last of the zombies finally taking their cuts. There are even a couple laughs of the darker variety in here.

The special features include a making of featurette, a featurette on the makeup effects, a featurette on the burning of the cabin, a blooper reel and a trailer for Dead Snow.

All in all, Dead Snow is a pretty solid entry into the horror field. Maybe it wasn't all we were hoping for, or even all we were expecting, but if you like a good squishy horror romp with plenty of violence and a few good laughs.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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