Soldiers of the Damned Movie Review
Written by Charlotte Stear
DVD released by Safecracker Pictures
Directed by Mark Nuttall
Written by Nigel Horne
2015, 99 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 17th August, 2015
Gil Darnell as Major Kurt Fleischer
Miriam Cooke as Professor Anna Kappel
Lucas Hansen as Major Hinrich Metzger
Tom Sawyer as Lieutenant Eric Fuchs
Jason Kennedy as Private Dieter Baum
Mark Fountain as Private Rolf Nadel
Matthew John Morley as Sergeant Nicholas Lang
Hitler’s interest in the occult is a subject that has lent itself well to the horror genre, spawning zombie movies that have made a tired sub-genre seem fresh (Dead Snow) and given small independent features like The Devil’s Rock an intriguing story to showcase some major talent. Soldiers of the Damned is a new movie from the UK that tackles this dark period.
Set on the Eastern front in 1944, the movie follows Major Kurt Fleischer, (Gil Darnell), commander of an elite troop of German soldiers, after he is ordered to escort a female scientist (Miriam Cooke) into a mysterious forest behind enemy lines to retrieve an ancient relic. As his men begin to disappear under strange circumstances, Fleischer realises there is something in the forest that is far more deadly than the Russians.
The movie starts with a bloody bang that promises gore and carnage galore, it is a no holds barred war movie and the effects are stunningly real, producing toe curling brutality. The violence doesn’t maintain this intensity throughout the film, it tapers off from the middle which is a result of how powerful the opening scenes are, and the shift in mood and story into the second part of the film.
From here there is a much more supernatural element to the movie which is an interesting juxtaposition. Although grounding this film in reality with the brutal scenes of war, as the film unfolds into the occult it can’t match its opening scenes and the most unsettling parts remain the realistic war elements. The cast is successful due to a good ensemble that works well together on screen, a lot of camaraderie helps us care about the men who are losing their lives, but it is the stand out performance of Major Kurt Fleischer by Gil Darnell makes this film work. He is a man torn between his duty and his men and his tortured performance accurately communicates a cold, hard reality.
As the soldiers get lost in the woods their descent into madness is depicted well by their surroundings. The woods are spectacular and create an ominous feel that help the film shift mood, it is intriguing and rather claustrophobic and without them the second half of the film would not work so well, the cinematography captures this gloominess beautifully.
Although Soldiers of the Damned doesn’t bring anything new to the table, this is a solid movie that boasts a good cast and some stunning visual effects.