29 Jul 2013

'Frankenstein's Army' Review

Director: Richard Raaphorst
Writers: Richard Raaphorst, Chris W. Mitchell
Stars: Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym

Toward the end of World War II, Russian soldiers pushing into eastern Germany stumble across a secret Nazi lab, one that has unearthed and begun experimenting with the journal of one Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The scientists have used the legendary Frankenstein's work to assemble an army of super-soldiers stitched together from the body parts of their fallen comrades -- a desperate Hitler's last ghastly ploy to escape defeat.

Frankenstein's Army, the one of two horror's this year that take the name 'Frankenstein' to a whole new meaning hits (very few) cinemas soon, and depends which way you will look at it, either way you will be surprised.

As bad as it sounds, it actually isn't as bad as one might have imagined judging by the title and it's hidden identity, so going into this expecting the very least may be the key to getting a kick out of watching a somewhat politically correct World War II monster flick. I, expecting little wasn't thrilled with the spoiled treat that was put in-front of me, and seen it as more of a wasted opportunity than a down-grade to the idea; the material was there but the pay-off wasn't.

As ludicrous as the original plot may be, there was something behind it that had the potential to make a really scary yet fun guilty-pleasure, but instead we received an annoyingly filmed, lumbering horror experience with a great monster design and an uninspired delivery. It's almost a shame that this creepy premise was ruined by hollow characters, and a formulaic appearance. The monster scenes however were down-right creepy and intense, and if more involved and less sloppy, Army could have been something memorable.

The superb monster design isn't enough to save this movie from becoming almost completely forgettable, and although the monster scenes and set pieces are enough to send some chills down your spine, they frequently become forgotten and extremely recycled, making their appearance as predictable as the next. Perhaps a cut down on monsters would have saved from many of them looking seemingly alike and re-used, and the large number of monsters cut down on the impact of the larger, scarier and more inventive ones; they totally milked the idea until it became ineffective.

Wile it can become an intense ride when the monsters are entered into the mix, it is just too uninviting and ugly to grab the intention of the audience long enough for the army to come back into the picture again, and the way it was filmed would be enough to turn you off the movie altogether. The whole 'found-footage' aspect may have gone un-missed if left out as it cause nothing but frustration to watch. It's unappealing and you never get to see the monsters as they really are, catching glimpses simply isn't enough to inject fear into the audience; but it's creepy if that counts.

VERDICT: Although it does inject somewhat new life into the withered sub-genre,Frankenstein's Army fails to deliver a smart or successful horror experience; and aside from some extremely impressive and haunting monster design, it has very little new to offer to the genre, and the viewers. 

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