Hey guys, they found more footage of weird shit!
This time they have found the footage belonging to a group of Russian soldiers near the end of World War II. They are on, I believe, a rescue mission to retrieve some of their fellow soldiers. Things don’t go as planned however and before long they have stumbled upon a Nazi laboratory where a host of mutant human hybrid creature things are patrolling the halls. These things start picking the soldiers off one by one, although that is still not enough to keep them from filming everything that’s happening.
I mentioned in yesterday’s review of The Dinosaur Project that I will continue to watch and support these found footage movies so long as they continue to find unique situations to capture on camera. This one might just be the most unique yet. Other movies make their intentions immediately clear when they are summarized. Things like found footage in a haunted asylum, found footage of the hunt for a witch in the woods, found footage of a giant monster attack, these are all concepts that make sense quickly and you can accurately picture what you’re in for. If you hear “found footage in World War II” you can think of a few possible scenarios but I’m guessing “soldiers fight Nazi Frankenstein experiments and have to deal with insane shit like a guy with a drill for a face or a dead guy with claw hands”. So for that, these guys get some credit for sure.
Plot wise, I feel I’ve summed up everything you really need to know. Nazi doctor makes insane creations using dead humans and anything else he can get his hands on. Experiments attack soldiers. Done. From that point on, it plays out as more of a funhouse ride than an actual movie. The characters are very one-dimensional, which all of them being kind of an asshole. The only real difference between any of them is how large of an asshole they are, with one character being the stand-out and the others being slightly less asshole-y. There’s not really the usual stand-out character that you know you’re supposed to be rooting for. There are a couple of plot twists and sub-stories, but for the most part Frankenstein’s Army is all about the ride.
Thankfully, the ride is pretty damn fun. The creations themselves are definitely the highlight. I don’t want to spoil any of them really as seeing them first hand and realizing what exactly you’re looking at is a huge part of the fun. I even found myself pausing the movie so I could really study the various creatures. As a tease, I will also say that the creature with the drill face also has drills for his arms and legs and so it resembles some sort of drill spider when it walks around. This movie has human drill spiders friends, cinema has finally caught up to our imaginations. Not to mention that as far as I could tell, none of these things were CGI. Everything is just a guy in a suit, which yes does make it a lot cheesier, but it also helps things a lot creepier since these creatures move realistically. Or at least how I would picture a nightmare drill appendage creature would realistically move anyway.
So earlier I described the movie as a funhouse ride, and that definitely seems to be what they are going for here. If I’m not mistaken, the camera is strapped to the character’s head, so we don’t have to deal with the standard “I can’t hold the shit still!” nonsense that we do in most found footage movies. In place of the shaky camera business, we have steady shots and long tracking shots where you can clearly see everything that is going on. Doesn’t that sound wondrous? This means we get long uninterrupted first person sequences of characters running through hallways, encountering a monster around the corner, turning around, running back the other way only to encounter something even worse, etc. It really is like running through a high school haunted house where dudes keep popping out at you everywhere you go. You can tell they were pretty proud of the creatures they came up with so thank god they allow us to get a good look at all of them. It actually reminds me a lot of the first person sequence from the Doom movie, which I now realize is likely an immediate turn off for anyone who has actually seen the Doom movie (I imagine that means me and Dwayne Johnson, so thanks for reading Mr. Johnson!). But trust me, it works for them here.
The one downside is that this does lessen the horror aspect a little bit as its almost always a safe bet that when a corner is turned, some wild shit is going to be waiting there. Eventually you become desensitized to the whole thing. There are a few well-handled jump scare moments in the first act before things get too crazy, but from that point onwards it becomes far less about the scares, and much more about the adrenaline and the dudes with buzzsaw hands.
Frankenstein’s Army is not necessarily what I would call a good movie, but I certainly found it to be an entertaining one. I imagine the makers must have had a ton of fun sitting around, thinking of what kind of shit they could graft to other shit in order to make the creatures. It’s very well shot and just overall makes for a very fun ride. Recommended!