Dir: Richard Raaphorst
Cast: Karel Roden, Joshua Sesse, Alexander Mercury, Luke Newberry, Andrei Zayats, Robert Gwilyn, Hon Ping Tang, Mark Stevenson.
The Film: Even though I’m probably in the minority but I don’t care, I’m a fan of found-footage films. Since I first started working for SuperMarcey.com, I’ve talked many times in the past (whether it was on the podcast or in my reviews) about how I really enjoyed them. I can understand why most people wouldn’t like them (especially in the last couple of years, which seems like 2nd or 3rd horror film these days is done in that style) but for me I find them to be really fun and scary, especially if they are done right. One recent found-footage horror film in particular that I was really looking forward to seeing was the film FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY. So what is this film about you may ask? Well, read on and I tell you.
Set in Germany during the last days of World War II, the film tells the story of a small troop of Russian soldiers who wander the countryside to killing Nazis. Their mission just happens being filmed by new member of the team named Dimitri (Alexander Mercury), who is documenting their exploits for the Russian government. One day they receive a radio transmission from another Russian troop, who say that they are trapped in a small town not far from where they are and that they need help. The troop decide to head to small town and help their comrades but when they get there, they soon discover to their horror that the town is the site of a secret Nazi lab that has been creating an army of monstrous super soldiers with the help of a mad scientist named Viktor Frankenstein (Karel Roden).
After hearing what the premise was about, you can definitely see why I wanted to check it out. It sounded like it could be a lot of fun. But having now seen the film for myself on Blu-ray, I’m not going lie when say this: I hated it. I really, really, REALLY hated this film. The main reason why I despise this film so much is funnily enough the same reason why I was looking forward to it in the first place: the found-footage format. I’ve defended this filmmaking style over the last couple of years as someone who believes that if done well, it can be a very effective of telling a story without it ever feeling like a pointless gimmick. Unfortunately the use of it for this film is so badly handled by director Richard Raaphorst that it ruins any potential fun and tension that the film might have had, instead it just comes off as pointless and annoying (especially since this is a film that would’ve easily have been done without it). Plus it didn’t help the film doesn’t look like it was filmed by a 1940’s camera. Now I’m not someone who is annoyed by accuracy in films (especially one that’s has undead monster super soldiers in it) but it would’ve good if the fillmmakers actually made an effort to make it *look* like it was shot by a camera from that period, instead of the other way around having look like that the characters were using a modern-day high-tech digital HD video camera. I know that it sounds like I’m nit-picking but the way how they chose to shoot this film really rubbed me the wrong way and it took me out of the film the entire time.
Also besides that, there are a lot of other things about film I didn’t like about the film. While the cast do try their best, unfortunately they all gave really poor performances. Plus the characters they were playing with so obnoxious and unsympathetic that I just didn’t care about what happen to them all. One in particular that stood out was the character of “Vassili” (played by Andrei Zayats), who I found both frustrating and annoying. Also Richard Raaphorst’s direction was terrible, the script was badly written and paper-thin, the pacing was sluggish and there a lot of really stupid moments.
Now you’re probably wondering, was there anything about this film that I actually liked at all? Well, I can definitely say that the highlight of the film is definitely the monsters themselves. One thing I’ll give Raaphorst (since he is also designed them as well) credit for is that actually made the monsters real instead of making them CGI creations, every single one is brilliantly designed, unique and creative. The fact that these monsters were actually done with the help of make-up, animatronics and costumes gives the film a bit of an impact that it probably wouldn’t have had if they were done in CGI. Also the production/costume was also really good as well and it actually add some realism to the film.
Overall despite those very (and do I VERY) few positives qualities, this was still absolutely terrible film that I hated from the very first frame to the last. While I’m sure it will have its fans (if you enjoy than more power to you) but sadly it just didn’t work for me at all. It could have been a lot of fun but it ended up just being both boring and obnoxious. It’s definitely without a doubt one of the worst found-footage horror films that I’ve seen in quite a while and, for someone who thought that both THE DEVIL INSIDE and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 weren’t that bad, that is saying a lot.
The Australian Blu-ray:
Audio/Video: The video is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen 1080p HD. Audio is presented with both DTS-HD Mater Audio English 5.1 and LPCM English 2.0, the subtitles are in English and Spanish. The film has a really good HD transfer but it does have a bit of grain sprinkled though out. While it isn’t as amazing as other HD transfers I’ve seen recently in other recent films, it’s still pretty solid and it actually works in favour for this film. The audio was both excellent and clear, I had no problems with it at all.
There isn’t much in terms of special features but what is here is still decent. The Making Of feature goes for about 30 minutes and it delves into the production of the film, from location scouting (we find that director Richard Raaphorst changed scenes from the script to fit the location where they were shooting at) to designing the amazing monsters that appear in the film. Also the cast and other members of the crew shares their thoughts on the film and why they were excited to be involved with it. I wish this feature went a little bit longer but for what it is, it’s fine. The Creature Spots are 15 second clips (most likely for T.V.) of the film’s most memorable monsters (my favourite one from the film is definitely the Mosquito Man) and finally we get the film’s official Trailer.
– Bede Jermyn