Frankenstein’s Army

FA1

When a group of Russian soldiers are tasked with hunting down NAZIs at the end of World War 2 they come across a secret experiment to create undead monsters. Filmed found footage style.

The NAZIs greatest lasting legacy will be as the go to villains you can put into a movie to immediately establish who the bad guys are. Well, that and a scar on humanity that can never properly be healed thanks to the horrible atrocities committed by a regime that comes as close to real evil as one can get without horns and a shiny pitchfork. They haven’t been the only ones to ever get the real evil merit badge, but they damn sure come to the forefront of the pack. That’s why they’re the easiest to use when you need a go to bad guy. Throw the NAZI’s into the mix and there’s no question where the evil is going to be focused. Even in a film like this where the other side are Russian soldiers, and lord knows Stalin beat out Hitler in the “kill as many people for no reason just because you’re a crazy, psychopathic bastard” award, you immediately know the NAZIs will be bad guy numero uno. Hell, if you pit the devil himself, and not the well suited suave guy with a goatee devil, but the fire and brimstone devil who wants to destroy the world in a rain of dead babies and strangled puppies against the NAZIs you’d still root for the devil. That’s how bad the NAZIs were. Though to be honest, even the devil was appalled by what those sadistic bastards did. You have to be pretty bad to get the devil to ask you to tone it down a notch.

We begin with a small group of Russian soldiers canvasing the German countryside toward the end of World War 2. They are trying to hunt down any remaining German soldiers that might be trying to escape. One member of their party decides that it would be a good idea to film the hunt for future documentation because a documentary that doesn’t show Germans being gunned down by Russians would just be boring. On their hunt they come across a nearly abandoned town that hides a dark secret. Beneath the streets lies a laboratory where a NAZI scientist is conducting Frankenstein like experiments to reanimate dead German soldiers as monstrous battle mechs ready to take back the world for NAZI Germany. The Russian soldiers stumble upon these experiments and end up nearly annihilated, but a few are able to hide away, avoiding the horrendous creatures that are hunting them on the orders of twisted scientist Viktor. What’s left of the original band of Russian soldiers are going to have to do all they can to get out of town before they too end up as experiments for the demented Viktor.

FA3

{At least they have caution tape to warn others)

This found footage blood bath actually started out as something entirely different. It was originally going to be a film called Worst Case Scenario that would have had undead German soldiers coming out of the sea to terrorize tourists at a local resort. It was going to be more of a comedy and go for chuckles vs screams. It fell apart though and after five years of trying to get it made the producers abandoned the original project and transformed it into Frankenstein’s Army. I can’t say for sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. While I did enjoy the film the found footage aspect of it killed much of the suspense and made it too formulaic for my tastes. There were a lot of things done right, but this would have been such a better film if it had been filmed in a standard format instead of going the found footage route. I can’t see it being great as a comedy, but I can see ditching the found footage camera work to be an improvement. That’s almost sad considering how much was done right with the film.

FA6

{Slightly sexy attacks don’t make up for a bad found footage film}

The creativity the effects department showed in creating the Frankenstein/Zombie NAZIs was phenomenal. There was some truly amazing things done in creating the monsters for this flick, and when I say monsters, I mean monsters. These creatures are truly monstrous, showing some nightmarish things that I can only hope no one sees in their dreams. There is a woman’s head attached to a bearly functioning Teddy Bear (get it), a person shoved inside what can only be described as a man sized tank, a horrendous creature that is a weapons filled monstrosity, and something I can only describe as one of the creepiest designs I have ever seen. The filmmakers were extremely creative in the designs for their undead NAZIs and no two is even close to the same. They are all completely original in design and all over the place in how fucked up they look. I would think even a small army of these things would make a full army turn and run in fear. Best yet, they all look amazing. The effects are top notch, and as unrealistic as they look they still all look very real. I can’t help but marvel in how great of a job they did. The effects deserve more awards than most of the garbage films that have won Academy Awards over the years.

FA8

{Creepy Teddy Bear}

FA4

{Helicopter face}

FA9

{Trap to the face}

FA5

{Stilts are the shit}

Then there are the actors that draw you into the movie to make you really care about what happens to them. I’ve already mentioned about how the NAZIs are the go to villains in every film they are presented in while the Russian soldiers, while just as bad, are more sympathetic. They go above and beyond to show just how awful the NAZIs are in Frankenstein’s Army. Yeah, they’re NAZIs, but they are really fucking awful NAZIs. The Russian soldiers aren’t presented as lovable characters either, they are shown to be nearly just as bad as the NAZIs, but they do keep the two distinct enough that you are able to root for the Russians, not like them mind you, just root for them, and pray for the end of the NAZIs. It was well played on their part in how they showed the two sides to be both evil groups, but one just happens to be the lesser of two evils. All the actors are really amazing but special mention must be given to Karel Roden as the evil NAZI scientist Viktor. He makes you hate him in a way only political candidates seem capable of bringing out.

FA11

{Let me pick your brain}

FA10

{Whatever you say doc}

Really, this is going to be a personal choice for the viewer as to whether or not it should be watched. There are some great things done, but the found footage ruins a lot of that. This would have been a hundred times better as a standard format film. Not to mention the overly predictable ending hurts a lot of the goodwill built up during the film. I’d say watch it but watch with care.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Richard Raaphorst (Zombi 1, Popo)

Starring: Karl Roden (RocknRolla, Hellboy), Alexander Mercury (Material Drive, Enjoy the Silence), and Joshua Sasse (The Big I Am, Galavant)

Released By: MPI Media Group, Dark Sky Films, Pellicola, and XYZ Films

Release Year: 2013

Release Type: Limited Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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