I came across this film late at night, while searching the almost bottomless depths of the Netflix streaming service. To this day I couldn’t tell you what made me click ‘watch’. The picture on the film description had an ominous looking monster and the title was kind of corny. Countless films are like this on the movie service. Duds. To add to it, the rating wasn’t anything to get my attention either. But something drew me to it. Call it a gut feeling I guess. So I took a chance and played Netflix Russian Roulette. That film was Frankenstein’s Army.
Set at the tail end of World War II, the story follows a small Russian military unit. Sweeping through Eastern Germany, they receive a distress signal. Another unit is pinned down and under siege by Nazi forces and are requesting evacuation. Following a set of coordinates, they attempt to rendezvous and they make their way to a small German farming village. But everything seems deserted. Where was the other unit?
These events set in motion a horrific and claustrophobically frantic nightmare. Written and directed by Richard Raaphorst, the pace of his film is floored to break neck speed, clocking in at only 84 minutes. Shot in P.O.V style, adds to the sense of urgency the characters feel as they make their way through the labyrinth of terror. I know what you’re thinking though, P.O.V? Really? Again?!? I know the P.O.V genre has been done to death, I believe it works quite well here.
Karl Roden as Viktor Frankenstein portrays him with such manic determination that I’ve never seen before. His creations though, steal the show. Without getting into too much spoilery, his creatures are the things of your worst nightmares. Each one, more horrific than the next. These are not CGI-driven effects, but practical and beautifully constructed. The effects team did an amazing job! You find yourself WANTING to see what monstrosity would pop around the corner next (Hans was my personal favorite monster). They also brought to mind the video game monsters from games such as Wolfenstein, Silent Hill or Resident Evil.
As with most horror films, it had its flaws. But they are so minute that they do not drag the film down. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. No, I was enamored by this film. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Hell, I didn’t even pause it to refill my beer! Frankenstein’s Army takes you on a wild ride that ends with an intense and very twisted finish. It is frankly the most original Frankenstein hybrid movie I have ever seen.
Unfortunately at the time of this writing, it is no longer streaming on Netflix. But I whole heartedly encourage you to seek this film out any way you can!
Stay Scared Boils and Ghouls!