Review: Frankenstein’s Army (2013, Dark Sky Films)



Amaray Wrap.EPS

Category: Exploitation, Found Footage, Monster Movie
Directed by:
Richard Raaphorst

Written by: Chris W. Mitchell, Richard Raaphorst, Miguel Tejada-Flores
Starring: Karel Rodan, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym, Alexander Mercury, Luke Newberry, Hon Ping Tang, Andrei Zayats, Mark Stevenson
Music: N/A
Cinematography: Bart Beekman

Frankenstein’s Army, taking place towards the end of WWII, follows a small platoon of Russian soldiers with a cameraman in tow headed into Nazi territory to heed the call of a fellow comrade distress signal. Instead they stumble upon grotesque machine-human super soldiers, created by the grandson of the legendary Dr. Frankenstein, that aren’t too fond of Mother Russia. Despite sounding like a hokey Nazi B-movie, this flick actually surpassed my expectations.

There’s really not a whole lot to say considering the storyline, it’s very simple, the above two sentence description basically covers the whole movie. Regardless the 84 minute runtime goes by pretty smoothly mainly driven my action sequences, badass creature design, and a few tense moments. Not that this movie is all action, in fact it’s sort of a slow burn. There’s a decent amount of build-up in the beginning and between the more intense scenes, but I never found myself bored. This is shot in the found footage format which is quite popular nowadays, some horror fans hate the style; personally, I don’t really care as long as I enjoy the movie and the camera work fits into the story. The first person POV works for the story, but it’s not very convincing considering that this takes place in the 1940s and the footage looks like is was shot on a Red Camera, plus the amount of close encounters the protagonist survives with the aptly named Zombots seems unlikely.

The HD camera footage isn’t the only illogical thing going on; both German and Russian characters speak in English throughout the film. Now that doesn’t seem right. Plus the accents aren’t very convincing. Speaking of the characters, none of them are really that likeable.  The Russians lack any real depth, plus they don’t seem like nice people. Any secondary characters are basically just cannon (or monster) fodder. Then you have Viktor Frankenstein who is your typical mad scientist archetype.

On a more positive note, the Zombot soldiers are awesome. They’re like a cross between something you’d see in Silent Hill and Hellboy at a Steampunk themed party. There’s a giant beast with drills protruding from all over it’s body, a big dude with an industrial fan for a face, a medical table with human legs, and all kinds of other mongoloid creations. Director Richard Raaphorst served as a conceptual artist for a handful a films throughout the 2000s before this directorial debut so it makes sense that he put some damn fine artists in that department.

Overall this is a fun, entertaining creature feature. While lacking in character development, authenticity, and a moving story this film makes up for with monster mayhem, fantastic production work and some decent acting. Check this out if you have some time to kill and don’t want to feel like you’ve wasted an hour and a half of your life.





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