(director/writer: Ben Parker; cinematographer: Rein Kotov; editor: Ellie Johnson; music: Alex Baranowski; cast: Barry Ward (Tor Oleynik), Harriet Walter (Anna Marshall), Tom Felton (Lukasz), Charlotte Vega (Brana Vasilyeva), Bill Milner (Iossif Gulyaev), Dan Skinner (Capt. Ilyasov), Kristjan Üksküla (Graeber, Nazi Officer); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Matthew James Wilkinson/Paul Higgins/Ivo Felt/Tom Harberd; IFC Midnight; 2022-UK)
“A muddled sort of horror pic set as a WWII B-movie period piece thriller about Hitler’s corpse.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A muddled sort of horror pic set as a WWII B-movie period piece thriller about Hitler’s corpse. It’s directed and written by Brit filmmaker Ben Parker (“The Chamber”). It follows Russian troops on a top-secret mission after the 1945 fall of Berlin.
The UK production was shot in Estonia.
As the war neared its end and the Third Reich lay in ruins but the war was not declared over, the lone female in a Red Army unit named Brana (Charlotte Vega) was assigned to carry out a secret mission she did not know the purpose of. Her job was to take from Berlin a casket of unknown contents that was strangely buried every night and dug up each morning.
Trouble arises when the group is ambushed at the Polish border by Nazi loyalists known as “Werewolves,” and locals who hated the Russians as much as they did the Nazis.
By this time Brana, who is Jewish, figures out what is being transported, and wants to complete the mission so no one can deny Hitler is dead.
Her allies are Tor (Barry Ward) and Iossif (Bill Milner). Also on her side is a German-ethnic pole, who can’t stand either side, Lukasz (Tom Felton). Her problem is with Capt. Ilyasov (Dan Skinner), a bad guy bully who seeks out for his own gain “the spoils of war.” Rape is part of his booty, and he could care less about betraying his comrades.
The film moves at a brisk pace, conveys the narrative’s menace, violence and tension in the woods. The Estonian DP Rein Kotov could be the star, as his dark photography gets our attention. The ensemble cast all perform well, which helps.
What I never connected with was why was it so important to go on a such a mission, as it seems absurd the more I think about it.
REVIEWED ON 9/28/2022 GRADE: C+