|Index||3 reviews in total|
This is the second short release by rising star of horror directors. So stunning are his first two releases that it is easy to run out of superlatives to describe the work of Shaun R. Smith. This film, 'The Soldier', is a quazi remake / re-imagining of his earlier amateur attempts into the film-making forey. But when stood side by side it is easy to see the huge leaps forward he has made to professional standards. The Soldier concerns genetic testing by Nazis during the second world war on captured allied soldiers and the havoc that ensues when the experiments go wrong, resulting in death and mutilation for both waring factions. This short film is only a glimpse at a much larger project Mr. Smith has planned, which, for anyone who has viewed this mini masterpiece, will be eagerly anticipated. Forget Romero, Carpenter & Craven....... Shaun Robert Smith is the new Master of Horror!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
June 19, 1944. The German/Austrian border thirteen days after the D-day landings. A lone British soldier (a convincingly shell-shocked portrayal by Clayton Fussell) walks across the desolate corpse-strewn landscape and stumbles across a Nazi research facility where the Germans were conducting experiments on their men with extremely dire and dangerous consequences. Writer/director Shaun Robert Smith expertly crafts a grim, moody, and intense shocker that primarily works because of its simple and straightforward no-frills execution: The gruesome images of graphic carnage are genuinely disturbing, the lethal rot-faced zombies are quite creepy and unnerving, the heavy duty splatter is every bit as nasty and excessive as it ought to be, and the whole thing builds to a terrifyingly bleak conclusion. Moreover, the pervasive atmosphere of eerie dread is powerfully rendered. Neil Johnson's bleached-out cinematography gives the picture an appropriately rough and grainy look. The spirited shuddery score likewise does the spine-tingling trick. Considering that this film was shot in a mere two days on a tight minimal budget, this is a really impressive and accomplished piece of work. Highly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pure disappointment. I don't know about you, but men just don't scream
like the characters in the Soldier. In fact men just don't scream at
all. For us men, our only point of reference for screaming is from what
we've seen teenage chicks do in the Friday the 13th movies and others
of that genre. Perhaps that is why the screaming characters in this
short film sound like a couple of 13 year old school girls. But, as I
mentioned previously, what would anyone expect given that this is
typical male's point of reference for screaming and why, therefore, the
screaming done by men in this film is just so very unrealistic.
As for special effects, the blood was way over done. Instead of the 14 gallons or so that was apparently used, they could have easily made do with less than a couple of pints to display this effect.
As for the hatchet...who didn't see that one coming???? The old bury the hatchet in the forehead of the zombie routine. Then there's the hatchet itself...definitely not a 1940's or earlier Kraut designed hatchet. But is definitely a modern American design as are the rubber boots with the Goodyear tread worn by the dead Kraut. Here in Texas we call em mud boots. I wear a pair out to the barn every day to feed my horses so I don't have to worry what I step in coming or going. However, those kind of boots on the German solider made me think he couldn't afford jack boots and so he bought the closest thing he could find to them at the nearest Walmart. While I'm on props and such, the abandoned research facility, which would have been occupied until just prior to the D-Day invasion. However, the set was designed to show years of deterioration. As a former military installation that had been recently abandoned, this facility would have been in immaculate condition...meaning no peeling paint or other deterioration of the interior of the building and its contents. By the way, the absence of dialog,except for the screaming, was distracting.
My 3 rating is for the good job they did on the British soldier's great uniform. However, I want to be clear that there are certainly some very fine elements in this film, but the problem is that as a whole the film is just not A or B quality. As this director matures, he'll most likely turn out some very fine movies. But to get to that point, he'll have to leave the adolescent plot elements to juvenile film makers.
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