INTRODUCTION. A WWII USSR Recon/Rescue team stumble across abominations of the living dead in rural Germany. With a title like Frankenstein’s Army, you can be assured that this film is a total gore-fest. I have amended my ratings system to reflect this as I understand (from watching other members of the audience at the EIFF) that viewers may have visceral reactions to this form of horror.
CHARACTERS. I wouldn’t describe the characters as weak but they aren’t all fully developed, memorable personalities either. We have the formulaic members of any military troupe: trigger happy aggressor, bespectacled nerd, good-hearted leader, etc. Portrayed well but clichés nonetheless. Our protagonist is the man behind the camera, which is how we receive most of the story. His fascination with the monsters and his fierce loyalty to mother Russia is one of the film’s strongest points in terms of persona. The cast loses charm by speaking in English (assumed Russian) and with vaguely stereotypical accents. Not a great loss if you’re in it for the blood.
STORY. Before watching Frankenstein’s Army, director Richard Raaphorst spoke briefly to the audience of the EIFF late night premier. It wasn’t the story or characters he was most excited about but the monster designs. So I’ll say this: the monster designs are fantastic. Guillermo del Toro could have slow-clapped this man out of the theater. The excellence stops there; gory aesthetics and beautifully antiquated transitioning can only get you so far. Initially, the film starts off as predictable and progresses slowly- it accelerates towards the end with bizarre, maddening flair. I personally preferred the second half; even if it did have me cringing in disgust.
CONCLUSION. Only watch Frankenstein’s Army if you have a stomach for gory movies, I can’t emphasise this enough. Don’t bring snacks (or a squeamish friend). Or do, if that’s your kind of thing!
CHARACTERS: 5/10 STORY: 6.5/10 REWATCH FACTOR: 3/10 OVERALL: 4.5/10 OVERALL (Gore Lovers): 7/10