I know. You hear Frankenstein in the title and you groan like you’re the monster just come to life (I did). You hear found footage and you roll your eyes (mine get a little more stuck in that position with each new one that comes out).
But Frankenstein’s Army is more fun than most found footage films and way more exciting than typical rehashed Frankenstein plots. It’s actually a bizarre little creature feature about Russian soldiers during World War II who stumble upon an army of Nazi soldiers re-animated as killer monsters. And the horror is all documented on film by the team’s cameraman.
As with all found footage films, there are numerous times when you’re wondering why anyone would still be filming when these monstrous killing machines are giving chase. And there are plenty of slip-ups when the camera cuts from one character to another instead of swinging back and forth between them as would actually happen if someone were filming them. And there are the spastic camera moments when you can’t see what the hell is going on.
However, after a 40-minute setup (it’s a slow burner that amps up the tension as you wait for the big boom) the footage of the monster attacks leaves nothing to the imagination. The soldiers end up in very narrow underground corridors and creatures just start popping out of every dark corner! Scream time! The monster models are like a smorgasbord of what the best work on a season of Face Off could look like if the creators had a budget and realistic time limits. There’s also a nightmarish Silent Hill quality to the designs.
In fact, the relentless height of the action feels like a horror video game. I seriously wanted to grab a controller and get in on the action. Okay. Actually, I wanted to grab a controller so I could run like hell. Especially since the cameraman always seemed to be standing still, right between his armed comrades and the oncoming monsters. There were also numerous times when the monsters seemed to be right up in his camera and swinging and hacking away at him with their weapon arms, yet he was always left mysteriously unscathed.
There’s a somewhat campy—and gruesome—shift in tone in the final part of the film. The cameraman is separated from his team, leaving behind one gorgeous soldier played by this guy, Joshua Sasse.
Left to his own devices (an old school camera in this case), the cameraman finally meets the maker of the monsters. This segment also brings back the traditional found footage feel because the action calms down and we catch the vibe of the cameraman’s fears.
The reveal of the backstory isn’t something we haven’t seen or heard before, but who cares? Frankenstein’s Army is all about the thrill ride in the center section. And Joshua Sasse, of course. So why not post a few pics of him in the buff?
No, they’re not stills from Frankenstein’s Army. The only thing exposed in this movie is Joshua’s brain….