bunker | adrian langley | michael huntsman | roger clark | luke baines | kayla radomski | world war i | monster | creature | creature feature | thriller | war | united states | eddie ramos | patrick moltane | quinn moran | adriano gatto | mike mihm | sean cullen
Director: Adrian Langley
Writer: Michael Huntsman
Starring: Roger Clark, Luke Baines and Kayla Radomski
This is a movie that caught my interest when going to the Gateway Film Center. I love horror films that are set during war time and the implications that come from it. This one is during World War I, which we don’t see a lot of. I caught this at the theater for a Sunday night showing as well. I also decided to give it a second go when I saw that it was available on Hoopla, from my local library.
Synopsis: Trapped in a bunker during World War I, a group of soldiers are faced with an ungodly presence that slowly turns them against each other.
We are starting this in the bunker of a united group of soldiers. They are Americans and British that have banded together. It seems like this ally group is under the command of Lt. Turner (Patrick Moltane). Cpl Miller (Roger Clark) is there with Pvt. Lewis (Quinn Moran) who he messes with a younger soldier about a creature that is a boogeyman of ‘no man’s land’. There is also Pvt. Gray (Mike Mihm) and Lance Cpl. Walker (Adriano Gatto). They are joined by Cpt Hall (Sean Cullen) who brings Segura (Eddie Ramos) who is a medic and Baker (Julian Feder). A report is needed before Hall leaves.
Things take a turn when the guard noticed the German bunker across the neutral zone looks to be empty. They hit it with a mortar and elect to take it. Lt. Turner scolds Segura who was bringing up the rear for being too loud. I should point out that he is being racist due to Segura being Hispanic. It makes it worse is that he wasn’t even the one who was being loud. Segura helped Baker, who was grabbed by a wounded German soldier. Lt. Turner believes that he is working with the Germans for no reason other than race.
Being loud didn’t affect anything though. The bunker is empty. That is until they find Kurt (Luke Baines). He has been hung like Jesus inside of a cave that was dug out. They get him down where Segura treats his wounds. They want him to tell them what happened in this bunker. That will take time due to his injuries though.
There was something being kept here. Whatever it was, it was scary enough for the Germans to abandoned. They also blow up the entrance and try to kill whatever is in here with gas. This could be an evil older than what these soldiers are fighting. It also could be much scarier.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. We don’t get a complicated story here. There is a good set up to introduce our group of characters before we shift over to the bunker where things go down. It doesn’t need to be complicated beyond that. From there, it is more about these characters and as they turn on each other. I do have a confession that I need to make. I dozed off while watching during that first time. It wasn’t necessarily the movie. This is a slow burn. I do want to say that. I was exhausted and probably shouldn’t have gone to the theater as late as I did. I digress there though. To update this after a second watch, this movie is slow. I’m going to put blame now on the product itself.
Where I want to start with delving into this is the setting. Having this during World War I is interesting. War already has a demoralizing effect on people. We see that the veterans can either be hardened or breaks them. You couple this with young soldiers who are green. There is fear within both groups, it is just how well do they show it or not. I like that they don’t rush into this other bunker. They’re cautious and that makes it scarier as it builds tension. I’d say that this felt real with what we get from this. It also makes sense to have a smaller cast. Trapping them in the cave adds to this.
I think then where I’ll go would be whether anything supernatural is happening here. The tension builds when the Germans leave this place empty. The allied force then takes it. They explore it and find odd things. The first is why was it abandoned? There is then Kurt who is hung on a cross. That is odd. They force him to work when he’s healed enough. It is from there that these soldiers turn on each other. The movie is making you wonder if there is something supernatural down here causing it or is it just the stress of being trapped. Either explanation works. I tend to lean toward it as supernatural. It would be odd for the Germans to have something similar happen. I also believe that the shell that traps our characters was meant to seal off whatever is down there. It is interesting that the boogeyman of No Mans’ Land was brought up as I think that is the best way to describe this.
Since this is carried by the acting, I’ll discuss that now. I’d say that Clark, Feder, Ramos, Kevin Tanski, Moran, Moltane, Mihm, Gatto and Ali Rexhepi are all good as the soldiers. What I like about everyone is that we get to know them all a bit before things fall apart. Having seen this in the theater, it is hard to tell some of them apart to be honest. I did remember Moltane, Ramos and Feder for sure. I also thought that Baines was solid. There is distrust about him when we first see him. How he is found is part of that. It only gets worse as the tensions rise.
Other than that, I thought this was a well-made movie. This has good cinematography. I like the contained feel that we get once our soldiers are trapped in the bunker. We have that feeling before that, but the sealing of the entrance makes it worse. The effects we get are also solid. I know we see a creature later in the movie which looked to be practical. I appreciate that. There is also this odd ooze that is down there. It looked gross and they do different things with it. Other than that, I thought the sound design adds something there. This is partially from things that are heard on the radio. The soundtrack was also fine to help build the atmosphere.
In conclusion, this is a solid film. The set up is good. Being that this is during WWI adds an element. War is just scary on its own. Then we trap our characters in an enemy bunker where there could be a monster that adds tension. It also could be our characters descending into madness. The acting is good. This is a well-made movie. I wanted to give special credit to the practical effects and the sound design. Having now giving this a second watch, I think that this movie goes too ambiguous. It needed to lean more into the creature or cut back on what we got, showing that the stress has finally snapped this group. I will still recommend this as others might enjoy this more. There is a lasting image that is depressing and I liked that.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10