Our friends out at Entertainment One have been doing some very interesting things with horror and science fiction lately, and for some reason, they’ve been heavy on the Nazi of late. They’ll keep up the trend with “War of the Dead”, a copy of which they’ve sent out for us to review.
“War of the Dead” takes us out to Europe in March of 1941, where Captain Martin Stone is taking an American unit to take out a secret Nazi bunker. With the American unit fighting alongside an elite platoon, it’s looking pretty good for the crew, at least until they begin to recognize some of the men they’re fighting against. The reason these men look so familiar, of course, is because the Americans thought they had already killed those men in earlier fighting. The bunker will likely hold some answers, but the overall picture looks grim: the Germans have somehow managed to bring the dead back to life, and are sending these flesh-hungry ghouls back into battle.
If a lot of this smells hinky to you, rest assured, you are not alone. What an American unit is doing in Europe in March of 1941 is beyond me, since there was no formal declaration of war until December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor, and even then it was with Japan. Hitler didn’t declare war on the United States until December 11, and even then because he supported the Axis agreements with Japan. Sure, there was all that Lend-Lease Act stuff, but that’s not soldiers and shooting war. Another project put American soldiers in Iceland in June of 1941, but again, where did that come from? Additionally, zombie purists will wonder how zombies have sufficient motor memory to work a gun, though that will be somewhat explained also as these aren’t zombies in the truest sense. However, the head shot kill popularized by Romero will be quite in evidence here, a welcome development for even the deepest zombie purist.
Meanwhile, the larger movie is filled with plenty of action, more than a little horror, bunches of gunplay and good old fashioned excitement enough to go around, making this one well worth catching indeed. It may be a bit on the low-budget side–a lot of direct to video is–but the comparative ease of suspension of disbelief here was welcome indeed. It’s also kind of rare to see the speculative side of World War II fiction show up. It’s seldom seen, though when it is it pretty much sticks to the “reanimated Nazis” concept. Still, any foray into this under-represented venture is better than no foray at all, so file it under “good enough”. The movie itself is also reasonably well-executed, making it a worthwhile overall package.
Special features here will include audio options and English subtitles, as well as a trailer for “War of the Dead” that somewhat explains how the United States is in Europe, what with the mission being a “secret” one and all.
“War of the Dead” is a great one for action buffs, horror and sci-fi fans alike. It takes a look into a somewhat underserved subgenre and puts up a sound job of putting it on. It’s certainly not bad, though it’s nothing truly mindblowing. It does have the goods, however, and fans of any of several genres should not go away disappointed.