Fantasia 2013 – Frankenstein’s Army (2013) – Review

If Frankenstein’s Army is anything, it’s visually stunning. From the costume design to the limited use of color, the film just creates atmosphere. However, until the lumbering monsters come out to play, the film is just as lumbering. It’s only 84 minutes, but by the end you’ll feel as though you’ve been in your seat for at least 2 hours.

I’m sorry, but it just took too long to get to the point, which is the monsters and killing. I’m not sure if I could offer a solution, but maybe some scenes showing Viktor (Karel Roden) building the Frankenstein Army or his descent into madness. Maybe some cut scenes the Russian squad we’re following at home, maybe some bonding between the men, maybe some back story. Anything, please, just give us some visual variety in the first half of this film.

As it is, however, we have the vantage point of Dimitri (Alexander Mercury), who’s been tasked with creating a propaganda film for the Russians. So we see most of the film through his camera lens, which is pretty jumpy, draws too much attention to itself (because the camera and film need to be changed), and is boring. It’s repetitive and hypnotizing, kind of like highway lines at night — careful or you may nod off.

Understandably, writer/director (also costume designer) Richard Raaphorst was aiming to build tension by revealing very little as the Russian squad made its way to a distress call from another Russian unit. Thankfully for the audience, when they arrive at the coordinates things start to get exciting and the squad realizes that this is one mission they don’t want to be on so near to the end of WWII.

The reveal of the first monster more than makes up for the annoying use of the first-person gaming perspective. At this point of the film, imagine a WWI setting of House of the Dead, Doom (the movie), and Hellraiser (but with Frankenstein monster Nazis instead of Cenobites).

The magic of Frankenstein’s Army happens here. Roden as Viktor is genius as he tries to bring an end to the war with an army of Nazi monsters and by fusing the minds of a communist and a fascist in the hopes of creating diplomacy. For whatever reason, that brain surgery scene reminded me of Hammer Films’ Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed.

The Verdict: [rating:2.0]

It’s a shame that Frankenstein’s Army is so slow in the first half, because the film really had potential. However, all is not lost. If you’re a steampunk fan, a movie effects fan, a creature design fan, or something similar, there’s lots for you to love here.

Rock Hard \m/

Frankensteins Army poster
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Year Released:
26 July 2013 (limited)
Richard Raaphorst
Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym
Horror, Monster, Steampunk, Action
Official URL:
Frankenstein’s Army

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