It's been 30 years since the old mine collapsed and killed several miners. Now a group of geology students and their teachers are going into the mine, not knowing that the dead miners have been resurrected by a poisonous gas.
I haven't seen the majority of Daniel Lehmussaari's films but I did review "The House of Orphans" a few years back, which definitely could've been worse. But I just never saw anything in there that I wanted to see more of - I'm very hesitant to Swedish horror overall. Of course I was still curious when I heard he was going to make a zombie movie, a subgenre I used to consider myself a fan of until there was a new film every day. And now that I was given the chance to watch and review it so I figured I'd go into it with an open mind.
If you really feel like you need to know the plot, it's about two professors in geology and their students going into the woods to look into a cave of sorts. But instead they stumble upon an old mine they didn't know existed, and we soon find out that the mine collapsed 30 years ago, killing many miners. And a sort of poison leak caused these dead miners to rise and become flesh eating zombies. Some unfortunate events (and stupid plot twists) later they are stuck in the mine with these ghouls hunting them down.
It's not a plot that oozes with originality but I never expected it to be either, so that's not something I will get into with the review. If there is one positive thing to say about the movie then I guess that would be it - since I went into it expecting a plot of this kind, I didn't end up bored by the actual plot. Although I did find it pretty annoying that so many characters were thrown into the movie for no other reason than getting a higher body count (you can't possibly convince me there were other reasons).
The worst thing about the movie is the characters/actors, the dialogue and the failed comedy. The characters are all flat as pancakes with lousy actors playing them - I couldn't wait for them to get eaten. Not a single line that was spoken was believable, and that's not only the actors fault as it's equally important for them to have a good script. The dialogue is at times nonsense. What made matters worse was that it wanted so desperately to be funny, yet it never even managed to get a chuckle out of me (I'd like to add that I still enjoy some Adam Sandler movies). Things such as making the blonde girl extremely stupid just became an annoyance and I was just hoping she'd get at least one line that wasn't hinting at her stupidity. Nope, dumb as a rock through-out. This is just one of many examples where the comedy fails miserably, only lowering the quality of the film.
This is a zombie movie, and any respectable zombie movie review needs a paragraph that goes into the goodies: the zombies and the violence. I'm not sure what to say about the zombies because I have seen worse looking zombies in better movies, and vice versa. There's nothing special about these zombies at all, but there's worse. I think the old miner zombies should've had dirtier clothes since they've been in there for 30 years, while being dead, but that's just one of those things you have to let go or you'll go mad. So the zombie look bad but acceptable, simply because there are way, way worse out there. As for the violence... It has some gore, but I expected way more. The practical effects look pretty much as you would expect - you will have studied how they were made within seconds of seeing them. It's amateur filmmaking and the practical effects aren't a problem for me. However, when they decided to add a whole bunch of CGI splatter, gun wounds, etc. it really fucked itself. I don't see how that was needed at all.
Not sure who I should recommend "Svart Död" to. Maybe the huge zombie fans who will watch anything? I know Swedish horror sometimes gets a lot more recognition than it deserves in this country simply because "it's a Swedish horror movie"! Yes, I know, we don't get a lot of them but why would you get excited over bad movies? That will just give us more bad movies. "Svart Död" isn't pure crap, you can find worse films but I can't say I enjoyed it very much either. It's uninspiring, stale and amateurish. The comedy fails completely and the horror is never the kind that goes for thrills, leaving the film somewhere in limbo.