It’s always a shock to me when I do an Amazon Prime marathon of stuff I’ve thrown into my watchlist and I actually enjoy a majority of it. As is the case with this trio of films that ranges from zombies and the infected to a masked killer.
TRENCH 11 (2017)
I wouldn’t imagine that a film both military themed and a period piece would ever hold my interest, but infection flick Trench 11 does it. I’d describe it as mashup of The Thing and The Descent.
When a military team is sent to search an underground bunker for missing men during World War II, they soon discover a bunch of sinister Nazis have been doing some evil experiments—shocker—and the victims have gone The Crazies route…thanks to squirmy spaghetti worm parasites in their bodies.
There’s a bit too much scientific chatter throughout the film—we don’t need all the complex details beyond evil Nazis infect people who turn into killers—so the film isn’t nonstop action and suspense. But that’s forgivable, because the phenomenal gore effects and brutal attacks make this a standout from similar plotted movies.
On top of that, the main guy is very human despite this being a military film, the guys are hot (especially pretty boy Charlie Carrick and hunky baldy Jeff Strome), the acting is excellent, and there’s a fricking crawl space scene. Eek!
But most important, whether intentioned or not, the movie seems to be patterned after the structure of a video game, combining aspects of both first person and third person horror games. Cool.
This odd little flick does very little to make any sense, and it generally drags all the way through, but it’s worth it to see the sudden shift to a brutal slasher at the very end, with Harmony of Buffy as one of the main girls.
After a quick setup showing a convict’s prison background, which sets up the killer motivation, we jump five years ahead to a just married couple driving through the desert to major disco music…and then getting hunted down and killed by someone in a red truck.
In between what feels like random people getting killed in a desert town (I’ll never understand how those types of towns even exist), there’s an FBI guy doing an investigation. YAWN. Of course those scenes, which I totally tuned out, explain the rather basic backstory. But who the frick needs a backstory? A killer in a red truck is killing people and sewing together human face masks. Just get to it already!
Finally, when it’s just Harmony and another girl, the movie becomes focused…in a totally unfocused way. There are shootouts with the killer, car chases, a torture lair (heinous face peeling), a bear trap scene (shocker), and a brutal fight to the death.
The film definitely redeems itself with some horror appeal in the final act, even if it is as predictable as they come and not particularly scary.
AFTER EFFECT (2012)
If you’re just looking for a quick zombie/infected fix, After Effect is the way to go. Don’t let the fact that Daniel Baldwin is in the cast deter you…this isn’t a really awful low budget flick. The infected are gnarly gross, the gore effects are tight, and the suspense and action are quite good. Despite being derivative, it’s a very satisfying horror film.
A handful of students volunteers to be part of some sort of experiment for money. As they hang out and get to know each other, everything seems okay. But once they begin getting called away one at a time, things go downhill fast.
A good old sex scene featuring big boobs kicks off the horror, and within minutes, body fluids start to flow. The kids are on the run, trapped in the facility as running, snarling, talking infected chase them down. Talking infected really do up the creepy factor of this subgenre for me.
The cast is likable, the guy heading the experiment is a chiseled stud, one of the main dudes is beefy, and one bald guy comes across as gay. Plus, there are some cool twists along the way.