War of the Dead (2011)
“What killed them made them stronger”
Director: Marko Makilaakso
Cast: Andrew Tiernan, Jouko Ahola, Samuel Vauramo
Synopsis: A platoon of American and Finnish soldiers is driven deep into a Russian forest where its Captain discovers a terrifying secret.
War of the Dead sells itself as a zombie movie, which it technically is, although the zombies in this pic aren’t so much hungry for human flesh as fulfilling the strategy of a dastardly Nazi medical experiment which has given a platoon of its soldiers the ability to continue functioning once their natural life has come to an end. So, when they are decimated by an alliance of Finnish and American troops, they return to life to attack again.
The besieged allied unit which was unfortunate enough to encounter these zombie Nazis ventures deep into a Russian forest in an attempt to escape their superhuman enemies. At one point, they encounter a young Russian soldier (Samuel Vauramo) who leads them to a cabin in which they enjoy only a brief respite from the zombie onslaught. The Finnish officer (Jouko Ahola) who is their leader quickly succumbs to a zombie bite, leaving American soldier Captain Martin Stone (Andrew Tiernan) in command.
As far as story goes, that’s about it. There’s a mysterious mechanical device which presumably has something to do with resurrecting the Nazis, a young woman who makes an appearance presumably so that her inevitable death can provide a measure of emotional depth (which it doesn’t), and a lot of fighting in the darkness. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s practically impossible to figure out what’s going on, and because none of the characters have been given anything other than a purely perfunctory back story, when we can figure out what’s happening we don’t really care.
War of the Dead had a long and financially troubled production history, which may or may not be the reason things don’t really mesh on the screen — although it’s difficult to see how these troubles would impact substantially on such things as the writing of the script or direction by Marko Makilaakso. Kudos, though, to Samuel Vauramo who stands out in his role as the Russian soldier who becomes an ally to his enemies. Other than him, though, War of the Dead has little going for it.