Frankenstein’s Army (2013)

Posted: September 23, 2013 in Movie Review
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Frankensteins Army

Directed By: Richard Raaphorst

Starring: Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym, Alexander Mercury, Luke Newberry, Hon Ping Tang, Andrei Zayats, Mark Stevenson

Subgenre: Science Fiction, Gothic, Supernatural

Synopsis: Near the end of World War II, Russian Soldiers locate a secret Nazi lab where the descendent of Dr. Frankenstein has been creating a secret army.

Thoughts: This was a movie I picked up based solely on a few comments by a friend and the title.  I really knew nothing other than what I imagined based on the title.  I was really hoping to see an army of mad scientist made monsters going to battle.  I’m happy to report that is exactly what this movie has.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about this movie is that it is of the found footage variety.  I admit that it is an overused medium, but I think it really works here. The “taper” is a soldier that is chronicling the last days of World War II while secretly leading his group to find the descendent of Dr. Frankenstein.  This helps to explain the videotaping as well as why the taping continues once the carnage begins.

Often times with the found footage technique, character development suffers.  You just don’t get the insight into character motivations and true feelings like you do with traditional filmmaking.  While you see a lot of that here with the soldiers, I thought that the development of Viktor the Mad Scientist was fantastic.  He completely stole the scenes he was in and was a remarkable madman.

Of course, the real stars of this show are the monsters.  It’s as if Gwar invaded a Power Rangers episode.  Each of the creations look as if they were constructed out of spare parts in a lab, which is a huge success for the filmmakers.  It would have been easy to over stylize the monsters into something sleeker, but I loved the haphazard look.

Frankenstein’s Army is Richard Raaphorst’s feature debut, but he is no stranger to the genre.  He’s worked in various roles over the years on films such as Dagon and Beyond Re-Animator.  Much like acting, it is difficult to evaluate a Director’s skills with found footage films.  You don’t get much sense for his eye, but I can say that he kept the story moving and there wasn’t a lot of down time.  At the very least, I think that Frankenstein’s Army will garner enough attention that Raaphorst will get more opportunities in the genre.

This movie has been one of my favorite surprises of 2013. I wasn’t expecting a lot and ended up loving the movie.  I highly recommend checking it out.  It’s a fun movie that features some great creature design.

  1. fringevoid says:

    GWAR meets Power Rangers, you say? This could be interesting…

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