BluRay/DVD Reviews

FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY

By • Sep 18th, 2013 •

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I listed a lot of effects/makeup people above. More than I usually would. And with good reason. FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY (a title I’m not thrilled with, and which created no surge of desire in me to see the film initially) contains the best effects makeup of the year – better both conceptually, and in many cases practically, than films such as WORLD WAR Z and STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS. Better than IRON MAN 3. Better than THE GREAT GATSBY and PACIFIC RIM. It’s a landmark use of creative makeup in recent motion picture history, and that’s because it is so impossibly clever on a conceptual level. You’re gonna love it for its originality, but please, do me a flavor, avoid seeing any clips of it, even down to not looking carefully at the DVD or BluRay box cover art. Let yourself enjoy the surprises.

Perhaps it’s not more powerful than Rosario Dawson’s big moment in TRANCE, but then that was non-makeup, really, wasn’t it.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because I don’t want to give too much away. But I’ll say this: remember the old Universal and Hammer versions of the Frankenstein story? The doctor was reviled by everyone – the townspeople, his assistants, even the monster wasn’t fond of him. But what if a distant relative of his, with similar inclinations, were around in Hitler’s time? Born into such a climate, he just might be given carte blanche…

There’s no credit for music: I guess it was found music, which the post production people tinkered with. Anyway, it’s terrific. Funny, memorable, appropriate, and especially wonderful rolling over the end titles.

The direction is good. Less so in the first act, before all hell breaks loose. But once we’re into revelation-city, helmer Raaphorst is in his milieu and finds a haunted-funhouse visual style that is new and gratifying, melding that with bleached, grainy images, as if the film has sat, decomposing in cans, since WWII. He takes the awkwardly-hand-held-found-footage approach in a fiendishly enjoyable direction.

The friend I brought to the screening doesn’t like horror films, but even though it might have been through a barrier of fingers, she laughed heartily at the outrageousness of each monstrous appearance, and is still talking about the film in a positive manner several months later. FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY leaves its mark.

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