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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.05.17] Canada horror war

It's the final days of WWI. Mere miles from the front, a small group of soldiers is on a reconnaissance mission when they come upon the Wotan Compound. What at first appears to be a typical German outpost turns out to be a cover for a secret underground facility where German scientists have been conducting experiments.

The team of Canadian, American and British soldiers find themselves trapped in the underground facility and while they try to find an exit, the Germans return to erase all trace of their experiments because if news of their work was to escape, it's unlikely peace talks would continue and Germany could be eradicated for good.

Welcome to Trench 11.

There's an immediate response when one hears the phrase "German scientists conduction experiments;" it instantly it brings up images of Indiana Jones or Dead Snow but Trench 11 falls somewhere in between the two. A was thriller with overtones of horror.

Writer/director Leo Scherman exercises great control over the pacing and storytelling of Trench 11. The movie's first and second acts play like a straight forward war film: we meet Berton (Rossif Sutherland), a shell shocked tunneller (yes, this was a real thing) on a final mission. He's not in command but among the soldiers of this small group, he has the most experience and when the team finds themselves caught underground, he's responsible for finding the way out.

It's clear from early on that the German's were up to something nefarious but it's not until the soldiers are trapped there that the truth of the experiments comes to light. It takes a good forty minutes for the reveal and though Scherman builds tension well, the reveal proves to be uninspired. Thankfully, it's here that the movie takes more of a horror turn and where Scherman puts his training with David Cronenberg to good use.

In the third act, Trench 11 turns into a brutal war/chase movie with lots of German deaths and Scherman does not shy away from any of the brutality. Many of the kills are brutal and visceral and the mix of practical and visual effects is perfectly balanced for greatest effect. It's a bit of a shock on the heels of the movie's first half but it's also the most enjoyable part of the movie.

Trench 11 is neither a straight up horror movie nor a war movie and that's both the movie's strength and its detriment. Those willing to go along for the ride will have a good time once the action kicks in but others will find the final, action-packed third act to be too much.

Recommended Release: Dead Snow

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Ann Honimous (4 years ago) Reply

Could have at least used for the film poster WWI props and not a WW2 submachine gun and modern gas mask. Just saying.

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