Director: Julius Avery
Cast: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Jacob Anderson, Dominic Applewhite, Pilou Asbæk, Iain De Caestecker, John Magaro, Mathilde Ollivier, Bokeem Woodbine
Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins
Rating: M18 (Violence and Gore)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 8 November 2018
Synopsis: On the eve of D-Day, a group of American paratroopers are dropped behind enemy lines to carry out a mission crucial to the invasion’s success. But as they approach their target, they begin to realise there is more going on in this Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation.
JJ Abrams is quite the cinematic genius. Most of us know him as a director who has helmed both Star Wars and Star Trek movies, and his long time fans would credit him for the success of TV’s Felicity, Alias and Lost. The 52 year old filmmaker’s latest involvement is – who would have thought – a horror movie set during the turbulent times of World War II.
Produced through the Bad Robot Productions banner, the anticipation for this movie’s awesomeness precedes its release because of the good work done by the production company led by Abrams. Many had thought that this movie was the fourth title in the science fiction horror franchise after Cloverfield (2008), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) and The Cloverfied Paradox (2018).
The original screenplay by Billy Ray and Mark L Smith is surprisingly good, considering how Hollywood productions are adapting novels, comics and real life events by the hordes. The story follows a group of American soldiers who find themselves trapped in a German town after their aircraft crashes. The war isn’t just about fighting off Nazi soldiers anymore when they uncover a terrifying secret involving an inhumane Nazi experiment.
The 110 minute movie starts off on an impressive note. The computer generated effects used to depict the air strike are excellently done, and the opening sequence should be a joy to watch on an
Things take a different direction when the story introduces a new element: gory, bloody and violent creatures created in the dark rooms of a German radio tower. This is when you realise you are watching a zombie flick where characters have to run really quickly to survive – except that this isn’t one of those ‘found footage’ or lazily produced horror movies that have become tiresome over the years. You will find yourself at the edge of your seat as the protagonists plan to infiltrate enemy grounds, execute the plan and charge towards the bad guys while hoping to live through this ordeal.
The special effects and makeup are spectacularly well done – it makes you wonder whether the men and women who fought these battles might really have come across failed experiments which are never meant to see daylight.
The ensemble cast is largely unknown. Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Jacob Anderson, Dominic Applewhite and Pilou Asbæk bring the right emotions to their roles and do not outshine or snatch the limelight from their co stars. It also allows viewers to pay more attention to the progress of the plot.
Watching this recommended horror thriller is like playing a video game. You will need to run from the evil human characters and defeat the undead to win. And along the way, you will come across a series of gleefully loud, bombastic and indulgently gross creatures. If you are a fan of this genre, you will emerge feeling victorious.
(An excellently-produced zombie flick set in World War II – seeing gory and violent creatures being bashed has never been more gleefully satisfying)
Review by John Li