6.0/10
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123 user 49 critic

Deathwatch (2002)

In the middle of World War I, nine British soldiers caught behind enemy lines seek refuge in a complex network of German trenches. What they soon discover is that they aren't alone - and it isn't a German soldier that's hunting them down.

Director:

M.J. Bassett (as Michael J. Bassett)

Writer:

M.J. Bassett (as Michael J. Bassett)
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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jamie Bell ... Pfc. Charlie Shakespeare
Rúaidhrí Conroy ... Pvt. Colin Chevasse (as Ruaidhri Conroy)
Mike Downey Mike Downey ... Martin Plummer
Laurence Fox ... Capt. Bramwell Jennings
Roman Horák Roman Horák ... German soldier (as Roman Horak)
Dean Lennox Kelly ... Pvt. Willie McNess
Torben Liebrecht ... Friedrich
Kris Marshall ... Pvt. Barry Starinski
Hans Matheson ... Pvt. Jack Hawkstone
Hugh O'Conor ... Anthony Bradford
Matthew Rhys ... Cpl. Doc Fairweather
Andy Serkis ... Pvt. Thomas Quinn
Hugo Speer ... Sgt. David Tate
Pavel Tesar Pavel Tesar ... Mudman
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Storyline

In 1917, in the Western front, a group of survivors of the British Company Y reach the most forward German trench in a foggy night. They capture a German soldier that advises that evil is in the trench, forcing the soldiers to kill each other, and asks them to leave the place. Only the private Charlie Shakespeare listens and helps the prisoner, while a supernatural force scares and makes the soldiers insane. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Deliver them from evil

Genres:

Drama | Horror | War | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

6 December 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

No Man's Land See more »

Filming Locations:

Benesov, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£334,657 (United Kingdom), 8 December 2002, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fight between Andy Serkis and Hugo Speer took four days to shoot. See more »

Goofs

The gun Shakespeare uses to shoot Quinn in the end is a Bergmann MP18, a gun which was not introduced until the beginning of 1918 in time for the great Spring Offensive of the Germans. It was the first of its type to appear, so not only would Shakespeare not have found one, he would probably also have been rather surprised by it. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. Willie McNess: Shoot him!
Pfc. Charlie Shakespeare: Why?
Pvt. Willie McNess: Cuz he kicked me in the fucking balls!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Its not bloody Shakesphere"
4 June 2005 | by Virgil2127See all my reviews

"Death Watch" walks a very fine line while taking itself far too seriously, especially considering the bleak backdrop of WWI under which the movie is set. I watched this film sheerly under the recommendation of its horror-military genre connection to "Dog Soldiers". With that said, if you are looking for something like "Dog Soldiers", please do not watch this movie. They are too very different animals.

Which isn't to say "Death Watch" is bad purely on the grounds that it is not "Dog Soldiers". "Death Watch" is a very taunt and atmospheric movie, and the surreal and gritty layout of the text make us fear attack from any direction.

The film follows a group of British soldiers who capture a German trench and then attempt to hold the trench in the wake of not only an incompetent officer, but also a series of inexplicably strange events that push all involved to the edge of sanity. Soon, a rookie soldier, nick-named Shakespeare, begins to wonder if his squad is being driven insane by isolation and shell-shock, or something far more sinister.

Every man in Y-Company seems to have some sort of defining flaw. Shakespeare's flaw seems to be his cowardice. But instead of endearing this character to our own insecurities, the filmmakers only succeed in push Shakespeare away from us with his perpetual whininess. No one else is given as much due as Shakespeare. Other characters live and die in a heartbeat, without too much grief, but Shakespeare seems to be set up to be the emotional weight of the story, which the script ironically seems downright afraid to achieve.

As mentioned above, the movie walks a very fine line. It takes itself at times far too seriously, with no real breaks in between for relief and only little more for laughter. Soon, the bloody plights of the soldiers are played for cheap thrills, and the end result feels more than a little shoddy for exploiting the horror of World War One for such aims.

The mystery of the trench never lets up, even after the final shot. You leave the movie with an idea of what happened, but like most things in this movie, very little else. This isn't to say the movie isn't worth seeing - its scary and very moody, and a far cry from generic Hollywood horror. But by the same merit, this movie isn't something to go out of your war for. Despite all this movie has to offer, between atmosphere and suspense, there's no real payback in sight, at least on the Western Front.


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