Monday, August 19, 2013

Frankenstein's Army (2013)

Frankenstein's Army is a cleaver horror film that uses the found footage concept to tell a story about a lost Russian unit that comes across a secret Nazi lab where the journal of Dr. Victor Frankenstein is being translated into gruesome experiments.  The film is directed by Richard Raaphorst and Mr Raaphorst does a good job with what little he has.  I was unfamiliar with Raaphorst work so I enlisted a friend who knew of his work.  Mr. Raaphorst was the individual who did a fake trailer of a film entitled "Worst Case Scenario".  The clip went viral and was nominated for the best trailer, no movie, at the golden trailer award.  Frankenstein's Army is a movie with some of the ideas Raaphorst presented in his trailer "Worst Case Scenario" video.

Shot in Prague, in the Czech Republic the film uses it's location to maximum effect.It was shot in an old abandoned mine.  I was fascinated on how the film came about, and since this is Raaphorst's first feature he should be commended at the quality of the film.  The monster's in the film were not CGI, which seems to be the fad in today's movie making, but not here.  In the film the monsters are actual creations and they are something to look at.  The gore content is a bit much, but after all we're dealing with zombie soldiers made from dead corpses.  The art direction is stunning and it makes the film worth seeing.

The one thing that kind of made me suspend disbelief was the concept of the found footage.  The film is shot from the point of view of the cameraman, and that's fine, but this is happens during the closing days of World War 2, and the handheld color film camera would not be developed until the late 50's early 60's. Knowing this kind of took the air of reality away from the film for me, and yet I still liked it.  The detail in the monster creations and even the acting in the film is well done.  Some of the cinematography is dark, and the editing is a bit quick for me at times and it felt like a video game, but again this is hard not to achieve when the audiences point of view is that of the cameraman.  It would be interesting if the filmmakers had more money to do a more narrative film.  I do believe that the story is an interesting one, and one where a more narrative story would enhance the films horror, but sometimes you are given what you are given and must make due, and filmmaker Raaphorst should be commended on what he has made.

In a way Frankenstein's Army is a throwback to those old monster flicks from the past, and maybe that's why I really liked it.  The film is not long at all, and it has some good pacing in it.  I have to admire Raaphorst's direction, and being that this is his first feature film I can only hope that this is the beginning of a promising career.  The visuals in this film are stunning, and if you like a good old fashioned horror film with some gore then this is your film.  In fact this film reminds me of Stuart Gordon's films such as "Re-Animator" & "From Beyond", and if you like those types of films you'll love "Frankenstein's Army

All in all a really good solid horror film.  I believe it is playing on VOD in some regions and it is also on Amazon on demand, and itunes. I believe it will be released sometime in September on DVD.  I know I'll be interested in seeing if the DVD has a director's commentary.  If so it will be worth picking up.

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