Saturday, May 9

Brit Military Horror Face-Off


The Bunker (2001)

Vitals: Directed by Rob Green / 95 Minutes / Anamorphic 1.85:1 Widescreen (Salvation/Film 2000 U.K. DVD)

Setting: World War II, Germans fighting off what they believe are Americans lurking about an expansive concrete bunker.

According to the History Books: 5.5/10 Rating

Tactical Advantages Over The Others: It's the most psychologically involving and presents an interesting juxtaposition between ethereal horror and the emotional toll of the horrors of war.

Tactical Disadvantages Over The Others: There's one huge stumbling block to seriously considering this film's merits. None of mosty British actors portraying German troops at any time attempt any hint of a Germanic accent. It's profoundly harmful to the story in that it hinges greatly on Nazi atrocities. When you hear them speak of "yanks" in all their Brit enunciated glory, you imagine an alternate reality where British and American forces battled against each other. We lose the sense of these being Nazis from the word go and it only gets worse from there. It's one thing for an old throwaway war flick shoot this detail to the wind, but not here.

Standout Soldier: No one really stands above, but we do get to see the wiry Jason Flemyng stretch his acting chops in a role that requires more than being an unkempt greasy henchman.

Film: 4.5/10

Deathwatch
(2002)

Vitals: Directed by Michael J. Bassett / 94 Minutes / Anamorphic 2.35:1 Widescreen (Pathe/20th Century Fox U.K. DVD)

Setting: World War I, British troops in a captured German trench find insanity amongst their ranks as they go for each other's throats.

According to the History Books: 5.9/10 Rating

Tactical Advantages Over The Others: The most "big budget" theatrical feeling, lending a more realistic sense to the surroundings, from the abundance of set debris to rats crawling about. The ensemble acting is the most well rounded with every character growing before the viewer's eyes to feel individually unique. Also the film manages to produce the creepiest visuals of the three.

Tactical Disadvantages Over The Others: All this good to heave it out the window with overblown theatrics that scream "modern popcorn horror". The latter half feels like an unsubtle clusterfuck of twisted imagery and half-baked ends to the mysteries presented. The final twist especially seems ill-conceived and tacked on to give some form of closure to the derailment of the last twenty or so minutes.

Standout Soldier: Andy Serkis steals the show as an unstable bloodthirsty lunatic that feels very much like a strange riff on Belushi's Bluto from Animal House.

Film: 5/10 (but just barely)

Outpost (2008)

"We just about killed everyone else, it's about time we touched gloves with some Nazis..."

Vitals: Directed by Steve Barker / 90 Minutes /Cropped from 2.40:1 to full screen (Fear.net On-Demand standard definition)

Setting: Present Day, Hired mercenaries battle with disappearing Nazi zombies in a spooky, long abandoned bunker.

According to the History Books: 6.0/10 Rating

Tactical Advantages Over The Others: It does what Dog Soldiers did for werewolves to the woefully underexploited Nazi zombie subgenre with the most straight action of the bunch. There's an identifiable threat instead of essentially ghostly influenced confusion in the other two and of course Nazi zombies rock the shit without saying. The dialogue is occasionally surprisingly witty. The conclusion is satisfyingly bleak as well.

Tactical Disadvantages Over The Others: Some of the acting falls into sketchy territory and the powers of the undead Nazis aren't as clear as they could be.

Standout Soldier: Ray Stevenson brings his stocky bad ass self and sells the part of a weathered gun for hire like a loud car salesman on TV.

Film: 6/10

1 comment:

Carl (ILHM) said...

I dont know how I missed this post Jay but I am so incredibly in on Outpost, I liked the bunker but will probably pass on Deathwatch

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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