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Quinn K. Redeker
Nichelle Nichols is an army sergeant who leads her platoon into the woods of the deep south on a training exercise. Unfortunately, it is the site where a bunch of yankee soldiers murdered a town of confederates. The corpses of the dead soldiers rise up to wreak revenge. Written by
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Great premise flounders in a sadly mediocre execution, an unfortunate missed opportunity.
I was moderately excited to see this one, after all the premise is rock solid. New army recruits doing training manoeuvres in the woods encounter undead menace from the American Civil War, with a cruel flashback opening and the suggestion that strange things persist in the area all set expectations high. Then there's the lively acting and reasonable writing that give off the impression in the first ten minutes or so that this is going to be pretty solid stuff. Sadly as the film goes on the pacing slows to a crawl and the feed of interesting moments and mild spooks is all too slow, which combined with the lack of grue or plot development make for an experience that is two thirds stodgy and kinda tedious. For a lot of the first hour I was looking at my watch, which isn't ideal. The effects are good and there are some nice moments, but director Armand Mastroianni puts things across in largely uninspired style and worst of all the film mostly isn't weird or incompetent enough to deliver unintentional humour or oddball kicks. Acting wise there are a few perks. The big draw is seeing Nichelle Nichols (in a rare film appearance) and LeVar Burton together in the same film and as a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation and a minor fan of the original series I was pleased to see these two together, with both putting in good performances. Nichols perhaps was not the best choice for a tough leader but she still does pretty well. Also, Maxwell Caulfield does reasonably as the nominal hero and Talia Balsam is both likable and easy on the eye as a female recruit. The woodland is a good setting and when watching it helped that I am a huge fan of backwoods horror, but the film only really takes wing in the final half hour delivering a smart dose of interest and thrills that lift the film somewhat but still can't make it overall that good. In the end I wasn't too dismayed by the whole affair, but it still isn't terribly good. Far from the worst out there, but still a film that i would only really recommend to backwoods horror and zombie completists, as most others will likely find it too weak.
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