Genre: WWII Drama / Horror

Director: Julius Avery

Writers:  Billy Ray (The Hunger Games 2012, Captain Phillips 2013) and Mark L. Smith (The Revenant 2015)

Producer: JJ Abrams

In the past there have been a few takes on movies with WWII / horror storylines. Most of which involve the living dead rising up again, as if fighting the Nazis wasn’t enough of an inconvenience for the troops!

What makes this particular Second World War / horror film stand out, is that it has been produced by JJ Abrams. So there was a certain ‘Buzz’ going around and the entertainment media was all over it. So expectations were running high.

Its directed by Australian film maker Julius Avery who is best known for winner a few Awards for a short film Jerrycan (2008) and a London Film Festival nomination for Son of a Gun (2014). So this was quite a challenge for the bearded Aussie.

Wimbledon Times:
On their way to enemy lines

The film concentrates on a platoon of US Paratroopers who are being flown over the British Channel to be dropped behind enemy lines on the Eve of the Allies D-Day landings in June 1944.

Their mission is to destroy a Nazi radio transmitter tower on a fortified Village Church in France and thereby allowing the allied air support access to knock out the German defences.

Wimbledon Times:
Something strange in the woods

However, the ragtag group of surviving soldiers get more than they bargain for after uncovering Nazi experimentation on the local village folk and unwitting G.I.s.

There is a fantastic opening scene where we see what looks like hundreds of huge Flying Fortresses and C-47 carrier planes transporting the GI’s into the unknown. It’s here that we see our small band of hero’s for the first time, all ‘bricking’ themselves as the planes negotiate the Flak from the cannons firing below. We also get to witness the other kind of horror with the destruction of the aircrafts around them.

The soldiers ball out of the plane and into the abyss. Those that survive re-group in the woods and we are introduced to the small band of brothers.

Wimbledon Times:
Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell)

The cast is pretty much unknown and we have the usual stereotype characters. Our main protagonist is the young black soldier Private Boyce who is the moral voice of reason played by English actor Jovan Adepo (Denzel Washington’s son in Fences 2016) who carries the film well and the audience will invest in this character. There’s the loner, Corporal Ford played by Wyatt Russell (Kurt’s son) who is one to watch (appeared in 22 Jump Street 2014 and Black Mirror ‘Playtest’ episode 2016) He is the explosives specialist and complete opposite of Boyce and tries to keep his team alive by any means.

Wimbledon Times:

Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) Kicking Ass!

We have Private Tibbet played by John Magaro (The Big Short 2015 and Netflix War Machine with Brad Pitt) He is the American / Italian wise cracking light relief. Scottish actor Iain De Caestecker plays the War Photographer (Regular cast in Marvels S.H.I.E.L.D as Fitz) the eager one. Private Rosenfeld played by English actor Dominic Applewhite. (The Crown 2017) The nervous one who doesn’t stop talking.

Wimbledon Times:

The Superior Race...

Mathilde Ollivier plays Chloe one of the French villages (a kick-ass no nonsense character.) who lives with her Aunt and young brother.

There is also a nice turn from Pilou Asbaek (Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) as the Nazi Officer Wafner. Dishing out a lot of malice and reminiscent of Hugo Weaving’s Nazi, Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Wimbledon Times:
Boyce (Jovan Adepo) makes a grisly discovery

All said and done… I really enjoyed it despite the stereotype characters I still found myself on the edge of my seat a few times.

A very different take on the usual Zombie creations and some great special effects.

There’s not much else I can add without spoilers.

An entertaining evening out….It’s Nazis AND Zombies!!…What’s not to like?

4 out of 5

UK official release November 9