Frankenstein's Army Review
When I look back at 2013 in a couple months and create a list in my head of the weirdest experiences of that year, "Frankenstein's Army" will be near the very top. How weird? Have you ever seen a reanimated humanoid creature whose head was a propeller blade from an old-school airplane?
The film centers around a group of Russian soldiers during World War II. Their mission is to locate a German scientist, capture and detain him, and finally bring him back to Russia for questioning. As the soldiers move through Nazi territory, they happen upon a strange, run-down factory. This factory just happens to be the breeding ground for some of the weirdest zombiefied creations I think I have ever seen captured on film. Even though the creatures are deadly and high in number, the soldiers press on to find their maker.
Right upfront, the creatures are very cool looking. Grotesque, crude, and yes even somewhat horrifying. There are creatures with knives for hands, some with metal casings, and some with hammers. These creatures are crazy creations and they make this experience somewhat fun. Even though this is a fun horror movie, some parts are kind of scary. The ideas of fascists and/or communists creating mutant armies to create far-right or far-left utopias is kind of scary. Some of the film's goofiness outlined some funny outlines and for a found footage film (yes, you read that right, more on it later) the acting is well done. There are a couple left turns I didn't expect the movie to make. Other than that, its hard for me to call "Frankenstein's Army" a movie at all.
I think the found footage aspect works against this movie rather than for it. It seems the device was shoehorned into the film instead of giving a clever explanation to why all of this is being filmed. I think the film would have been much stronger overall if there was no found footage aspect to it. Plus, for the characters to be using 1930's style cameras, the film is a little too slick looking. Plus, the entire film suffers from video game syndrome. When the monsters start attacking the soldiers, there is a lot of running and covering, shooting and running, all of it feeling like the clearing of checkpoints. All the dialogue in the movie is all driven to push the story forward, with no real character development or depth. I half expected this but when we see the same thing over and over, a hour and a half movie begins to feel longer.
Overall, "Frankenstein's Army" is a lot of fun, but that fun gets halted as it never leaves that video game territory. This movie felt like watching somebody play zombies on "Call of Duty." As that began to happen, the fun began to slip away and sheer boredom began to set in. Never a really good thing, no matter how impressed I am with the rest of the production.
FINAL GRADE: B-