Monday, August 26, 2013

Frankenstein's Army Review

Everybody remember when the teasers for Worst Case Scenario hit? I sure do, and they were awesome. I could hardly wait to see it. Sadly, due to monetary issues, that film would never see the light of day, but director Richard Raaphorst had a vision, and thankfully that vision would eventually find itself on my television, in the form of Frankenstein's Army. I sat down full of excitement when it hit VOD, full of high expectations, prepared to have my senses assaulted with all manner of evil Nazi monsterism, and while it wasn't quite the masterpiece I'd hoped for, I still came away pretty satisfied.

Frankenstein's Army centers around a platoon of Russian soldier's making their way across Nazi Germany in search of missing comrades when they stumble across a village where some questionable experiments have been taking place. It seems as if the Reich had been using the notes of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein in an effort the create an army of super soldiers in a last ditch effort to win World War II.

Admittedly, this isn't the most original plot in film history. That being said, if you're going into this movie looking for a story driven war drama, you're doing it wrong in the first place. The only things I was interested in was watching some extremely grotesque Nazi monsters doing some extremely grotesque things to Russian soldiers. That's exactly what I got. I kept expecting Hellboy to break a door down at some point and start wrecking shit. This is the kind of story that could very easily have been lifted straight out of a Hellboy comic book mini-series. The members of the Army themselves all look great, and there isn't a bit of CG to be found. The costumes and effects are all practical. For the CG saturated movie watchers of today, this might present a bit of a problem, but for old schoolers like myself, it's a welcome throwback to the films I grew up watching.

All is not well with Frankenstein's Army though. Aside from the lack of plot, it also suffers from a lack of interesting characters, or character development. If I'm being completely honest, I can't even remember the name of a single character, and I certainly didn't care when any one of them was offed by the creatures. The fact that there weren't any particularly enjoyable efforts from the cast didn't help matters either. Performances range from "This guy's annoying" to "I hope this fucker dies soon". If you actually read most of my posts here, you'll already know that I'm not a hater of the found footage genre, but for the first time I found myself wishing a film had done a different route. With a movie so dependent on creature costumes and effects, I really would've rather gotten some good looks at them, rather than brief glimpses as the camera shook and ran away. Thankfully the final act of the film remedied this a bit, slowing things down and giving a better look at things, but there were lots of action sequences I wanted better looks at.

Frankenstein's Army is a highly enjoyable flick that mainly suffers from a lack of budget. Director Richard Raaphorst went with a style over substance approach, and turned in some genuinely impressive atmosphere and creature work, with not much of an overlying plot. I look forward to future projects from this creative team, and hope that they're given more money to work with next time. I'd recommend Frankenstein's Army to fans of creature features, who are willing to just sit back and enjoy a good old fashioned monster mash, even if it is of the found footage variety.

1 comment:

Eric King said...

It was around 02 or 03 I think, the first time I saw that promo footage for Worst Case Scenario. Beyond stoked, I was. Hopefully I'll get to see this soon. Thanks for the review, homie.