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FRANKENSTEIN'S ARMY (2013)

A very promising premise is unfortunately mired down by a subpar execution that really detracts from what could have been a fun horror romp. 


FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY follows a troop of Russian soldiers as they push into Eastern Germany toward the end of World War II. They discover a secret Nazi lab where A crazed scientist (KarelRoden) is creating all sorts of monsters using the remains of dead soldiers and the local villagers in a last ditch effort by Hitler to win the war. 


Certainly a fun idea for a movie, because who doesn’t like Nazi zombies? For those not in the know, there’s actually an entire subgenre of these types of films with such classics as OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES, ZOMBIE LAKE, SHOCK WAVES and the more recent DEAD SNOW. 


I’ll give FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY credit for its sheer audacity as one of the most over the top spectacles. There are more creatures than you can shake a stick at and they’re all unique and well crafted. Some look like rejects from the video game and movie SILENT HILL while others look like they stepped out of BIOSHOCK. 


But that brings me to my chief complaint about the film. It’s shot as a found footage movie and for a great majority of it, feels like you are playing a first-person shooter game. It’s not clever. It’s annoying. Plus it also brings up a number of logic issues. 


First and foremost being that the soldiers were supposedly using a sound 16mm camera (even though it clearly looks like HD video). The amount of footage they would have shot would have been considerable so I find it hard to believe that they would be lugging around that many film canisters into active warfare. 


Secondly, if we’re watching real footage, why are the Russian soldiers speaking in English? I know these are nitpicky but if this film was subtitled it might have even added to the creepy factor. 


But what really harmed the film for me the most was that I didn’t care about ANY of the characters. They are cookie-cutter clichés and the conflicts within their company seen contrived and unmotivated. So it didn’t matter when any of them died. Plus the movie continually was shifting focus on who precisely the main character was that after awhile I tuned out and just marveled at how creative the monsters were. 


In my opinion FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY would have been much better if it was shot in a more traditional manner. It’s a real shame they went for such a lame gimmick as found footage because I really wanted to like it but was turned off by the presentation of the material.

APRIL 16, 2014