Directed by: Marko Mäkilaakso
Available on: Blue Ray & DVD
In the endless run up to the predicted zombie Apocalypse there have been all sorts of films, TV shows, books and comics that have spun all sorts of stories about just what is going to happen and how completely and totally screwed we are going to be when it happens. Well, while folks out there are familiar with much of what passes for zombie entertainment out there, we feel it necessary to point out that you haven’t seen all of it as of yet, simply because a great deal of it never gets to the movie theaters, as it simply is made for DVD. Still that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad, it just means that there is far more of it out there than you can possibly see.
Take in point Accelerator Films’ WWII Zombie flick, War of the Dead distributed on DVD & Blu-Ray by Entertainment One. This interesting entry into the field postulates a zombie attack that was engineered by Nazi scientists and takes place in a remote German outpost in Finland near the Russian border. The film is not only very interesting and well-made, but it offers us something of a very different slant on zombie films. While it didn't have as much gore and "brain munching" as do most films in this genre it does hold up quite well. This mostly because it is, essentially, more of a WWII film with zombies layered over it than a zombie film that takes place during WWII. Not that is a bad thing, especially as by now, most of these zombie films seem to be just knock-offs of each other. This one is different, and that makes it well worth watching.
The premise of the film is that U.S. Captain Martin Stone (Tiernan) is leading an elite platoon of American and Finnish soldiers to attack an enemy bunker. Unbeknownst to them, this secret bunker is a place where the Nazi scientists are attempting to create deadly monster super-soldiers that can’t die (as they are already dead). Unfortunately for the Nazis their creations prove to bee too effective and turn against them. Then as the Allied forces approach the base it turns out that they have severely underestimated their enemy’s strength (or the fact that they are actually zombies). The American and Finnish soldiers are quickly beaten back into the forest. As they try to regroup, they are suddenly attacked by the same soldiers they had just killed a few minutes earlier. Forced to flee deeper into Russian territory, they discover what the Germans were actually up to and realize they have awoken a far deadlier enemy then they originally envisioned.
Another twist that this film tosses at zombie lore is that these German zombie soldiers are not so much the aimless shuffling dead to which we as viewers are used to (to be sure they aren’t even the frenetic new-age zombies that can run real fast), they are actually highly trained, super strong, reasonably intelligent soldiers who have become zombies, and still remember their initial training. This leads to a goo deal more hand-to-hand fighting instead of your standard zombie-ripped flesh. Still, this only serves to make this stand out from the normal zombie faire and elevate this to a new and different level of Zombie film.
Not a bad think at all.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.