- Frankenstein's Army review by NP
A found footage-style film from the Second World War is not something I would have been expecting to take seriously, due mainly to the highly improbable nature of ‘home movies’ being shot with cameras from the 1940’s. Indeed, there is a certain tongue-in-cheek style to proceedings as if the producers are urging us to go along with a story they clearly believe is worth telling, however unlikely the circumstances.
With a few blemishes on the recordings to at least remind us the footage has apparently been lost for 70 years, we meet a group of Russian soldiers answering a fuzzy distress call from deep in the misty German countryside. The transition from the unforgiving, snow-flecked terrain and the underground bunker they discover, with its spitting electric cables and an adornment of torsos with weaponry grafted into their flesh is very evocative and succeeds in drawing the viewer in to this hidden world.
When the monsters emerge (‘sewing dead people together’), they are very impressive. There is very little CGI here, but physical, constructed monstrosities (many created by Richard Raaphorst for his previous, aborted ‘Worst Case Scenario’ film).
While the creations are wonderful, the human characters fare less well. Their dialogue soon becomes a hysteric mass of shrieking and cursing (understandable, given the circumstances) and it’s difficult to know (or care) who is who – which is fine: this is a monster show, and these people are largely fodder. When the soon discovered Victor Frankenstein turns out to be just another shrieker and curser, the interest begins to wane. He’s clearly insane, but just as two-dimensional as his (human) co-stars.
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