DVD Review: Frankenstein’s Army
Frankenstein’s Army is an original take on the found footage horror genre. Set in the final days of World War Two, we’re embedded with a squad of Russian soldiers who have been told that they are a recon unit, tasked with eliminating small pockets of resistance before the main thrust of troops comes through. Along for the ride, is a political camera man, there to film their heroic deeds. Or so they are told.
In reality, the camera man is directing them to an area where Russian intelligence thinks could be the laboratory of Dr Victor Frankenstein (yes, the grandson of that Frankenstein) who at the request of Hitler, has been rumoured to be experimenting on on bringing dead bodies back to life with steam punk style mechanical attributes. In other words, creating an army of macabre super soldiers.
To give the found footage flick the sense of authenticity, most of the colour has been washed out, and a few filters have been used throughout, to give it the kind of look you’d expect from Russian film technology of the era. This works on the one hand, but hinders later in the film. A subtle transition from handheld to crisp cinematography as seen recently in REC Genesis would have helped deliver a stronger second half of the film.
Setting the scene and introducing the characters gives the film a sluggish start. The obvious lack of a realistic budget shines through from the beginning, with the actors at times giving new meaning to the term cheesy. But none of this matters when the squad stumble upon the secret lair and we get our first glimpse at one of Frankenstein’s soldiers. From this point on you can quite literally say all hell breaks loose.
The strength of Frankenstein’s Army is in the abdonminations that Frankenstein has created. This is old school monster creations rather than million dollar CGI budgets, and it is the better for it. These part zombie, part steampunk killer robots steal the show from this point on, driving Richard Raaphorst’s disturbing vision forward with an unstoppable momentum.
And just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do.
Frankenstein’s Army is a joy for horror fans, but is also a film the defies expectations and delivers one of the best low budget films you’re likely to see.
Rating: R16 Violence, offensive language and horror.