DVD Review: Frankenstein’s Army (2013)

Frankenstein's Army DVD CoverDistributor: Entertainment One

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Richard Raaphorst

Starring: Robert Gwilym, Hon Ping Tang, Alexander Mercury, Luke Newberry, Joshua Sasse, Klaus Lucas

Frankenstein’s Army is set towards the end of World War II as a group of Russian soldiers make their way into eastern Germany. The soldiers discover a secret lab where the Nazis are performing experiments based on the writings of Victor Frankenstein, experiments that involve creating an army of super-soldiers from the corpses of dead soldiers fused with working mechanical parts.

To sum Frankenstein’s Army up, it would be fair to say that it is a film with scope and potential but no real idea on how to put them together into a coherent script. The majority of the budget clearly went into the design of the creatures and the gore effects – which are very well done and the only real reason to watch the film – but a little bit more time shaping a decent story with some characters that the audience can attach themselves to wouldn’t have gone amiss.

And there’s no real reason to have the film made as found footage as, in all honesty, how many soldiers in WWII were running around with handheld video cameras making sure they captured everything? Granted, reality goes out the window a little bit when you’re dealing with a film that has dead soldiers with what appears to be garden equipment grafted onto their bodies, but a more realistic backdrop may have made what we see a little bit more effective and less of a video game type of reality.

But, as previously stated, what Frankenstein’s Army does get right is in the gore department – never has the pressure to remove an injured soldier’s helmet been so great, as one poor character finds out. Once the messy stuff does start to hit the fan – almost literally – the film shifts up a gear and the gripes that mar the first half of the film don’t seem to irritate quite so much. The monsters themselves are quite creepy, despite being mostly made up of welded metal and lawnmowers, but the insectoid look is very effective, especially one that looks like a praying mantis with a Nazi uniform on.

The Nazi zombie has become something of a modern horror icon, in both films and video games, and although Frankenstein’s Army tries to add a little something different to the mix it doesn’t really work. The characters are all unlikeable and unmemorable, the shaky found footage style seems incongruous to the setting and not a lot actually happens until around the halfway mark, so in terms of defining or expanding the Nazi zombie genre then we’re still going to have to wait. If, however, you find yourself in a room with a load of boozed-up mates and fancy watching something to make you laugh and cheer then Frankenstein’s Army may do the job but keep the remote control skip button handy.

Frankenstein's Army

Special Features: Making of documentary, creature spots, trailer.

UK Release Date: 30th September 2013

Frankenstein’s Army – Official Website

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