Saturday, January 14, 2012

365 Movies Day #211 "Deathwatch"

I love combination military/horror films. Guys with guns going up against a horror element have just fascinated me, probably since "Aliens", "Predator" an extent "Terminator". Lately, I've tossed a few your way in the blog. Look at "OUTPOST", "THE KEEP", "DOG SOLDIERS" and "THE OBJECTIVE" for other examples of the genre. This was Michael J. Bassett's first film and I'm curious to see if he can rescue the "Silent Hill" franchise with his latest flick. Looks like he wrote it too, so high hopes. Also looking forward to seeing his 2006 film "Wilderness" where he teamed up with blog vet Sean Pertwee ("DOG SOLDIERS", "DOOMSDAY" and "EQUILIBRIUM".

The premise of this one is great. First of all, it's WWI based which is a period often ignored in favor of WWII (though there are a lot of anachronisms in the film that pin the weapons and equipment more toward WWII, but only noticeable by the true historian). A group of British troops is caught in a bad way and exposed to a gas cloud while storming a German trench position. In the aftermath, the survivors discover a German trench that may be possessed by pure evil. Will they escape alive...or even with their souls in tact?

A solid cast led by Jamie Bell ("TinTin", "Jumper" and "Flags of Our Fathers") who plays 16 year old Charlie Shakespeare who lied about his age to join up. Shakespeare struggles with his fear and humanity throughout the film as he is exposed the horrors of war and beyond. "Lord of the Rings" fans will be excited to actually SEE Andy Serkis (the voice of Gollum) as a totally brutal asshat in the form of warmongering PVT Quinn. Hugh O'Conor is also wonderful as the resident chaplain. O'Conor is known for "Chocolat" and the 1993 "The Three Musketeers" film. Hans Matheson (recent adaptations of "Sherlock Holmes" and "Clash of the Titans" as well as Thomas Cranmer from "The Tudors" and Marius from the 1998 film version of Les Miserables plays PVT Hawkstone.

With a great cast, some sadistic effects and a great backdrop, this is another fine example of military and horror combined. Perhaps I need to start writing...


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