Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Stone's War aka War Of The Dead (2011) US/Lithuania/Italy

I've stopped calling movies that use 'Of The Dead' Romero ripoffs 'cause he doesn't seem too terribly to mind and there are so many now they're not even associated with Romero's zombie movies anymore. This one is set in World War II which I confess I have little knowledge of, having had decent teachers and a good school but no head for history (I only memorized stuff long enough to pass tests) and thus had to look a lot of stuff up to understand what this was about (and whether stuff was legit or not), as well as try to enjoy what was surprisingly a decent zombie movie with minor complaints.

The movie starts by stating this: In 1939, along the Russian border with Finland, Nazi Germany begins secret underground "Anti-Death" experiments on captured Russian soldiers. Two years later they abandon the experiments. All records are destroyed overnight by direct order of Adolf Hitler. The test subjects are piled into mass graves, and buried. Finland, 1941: A small, elite unit of American soldiers is dispatched to assist a Finnish task force in their fight against the Russians. Their mission: to destroy the Russian bunker. This much is true.

Okay, back to me. Now the hubby is a lot more savvy at this kind of thing than me, and immediately said 'Finland? They were part of the WWII Axis.' I just looked blankly back at him (I'm good at that) but did a little research to get the ole' gray cells working. There were three countries that signed a Tripartite Pact - Germany, Japan and Italy. Later Finland became what was called 'co-belligerent' meaning, I guess, that although they didn't sign anything, they sided with the Germans. For a while.

This is a problem for the movie 'cause the whole point is that a platoon of American and Finnish soldiers are on a mission to blow up a German bunker. Since Finland sympathized with the Germans this is... not quite right - but let's get to the good part. Despite what might have been little inaccuracies (discounting the Finland one) in uniforms, weapons, etc. this was actually a solid zombie movie and was fast paced from beginning to end. Captain Stone and his American troops together (for the movie) with Finnish soldiers need to find and destroy a bunker in a German forest. 

Well they seriously underestimated things and most of the soldiers are wiped out in the first few minutes, leaving only a few who actually make it to the bunker. They find a young German soldier who surrenders, offering to help. Why? His girlfriend lives in a small village near the bunker and he wants to get her out of there. He kind of has an idea what's going on. Very quickly we have one American, one Finn, and one German with his girlfriend. And we find out what's been happening.

Even though the three made it to the bunker over the bodies of scores of soldiers, all of a sudden they are attacked by those same soldiers. Who don't go down when shot - unless it's in the head. Maybe. The bunker was a center of experiments and the soldiers 'juiced' with something that made them even more dangerous dead than alive. It plays on the constant theme that Adolf Hitler, heavily into the Occult, managed to overrule death and make super soldiers out of dead ones. That's stupid but hey, this is a zombie movie so, yeah.

Set in Russia, this movie was actually filmed in Lithuania and was the most expensive film ever made there. So expensive that they ran out of funds (it was shot in 2007 but only released in 2011 when they had the money). Uh, yeah, I guess it would be. The gore is decent but the zombies were badly done and looked very lazy. 

As for who shot what kind of weapon, the 'good guys' mostly had, from what I could see, something close to (not actually) a Russian PPSH41 sub-machine gun (without a pistol grip) with a ventilated shroud. What's puzzling is why it took eight years and many cast and crew changes to finish this movie. This wasn't the bloody Lord Of The Rings trilogy after all - it is what it is - a decent if not great zombie flick in a sea of stupid zombie flicks and worth a look if you're bored.