I mean, this is a found footage flick set against the backdrop of World War II. A
These Zombots brutally hack apart the soldiers and film crew one by one, what few survivors are left suffer from stinging betrayals within their own ranks, the third act pits one of the documentarians against this descendent of Victor Frankenstein, a burst of well-intentioned heroism goes horribly wrong... I could keep going about all that, but the skeleton of a plot is pretty much what you'd expect, and story isn't really the selling point anyway. Frankenstein's Army as a movie exists solely to show off these ghoulish and cacklingly demented creature designs. The quick glimpses of them on the disc's main menu had my jaw scraping the floor before the film had even started. The craftsmanship and imagination that propel the film really are remarkable, and the extensive makeup effects work -- all practical and in-camera too! -- is every bit as goopy and gruesome as you'd hope it'd be. I don't know what kind of budget Frankenstein's Army had at its depraved fingertips, but the staggeringly high production values look
The inspired creature designs and barrel drums of splatter throughout Frankenstein's Army are so brilliant that everything else is hopelessly overshadowed. Before the 'Burnt Match Man' first reared his electrified little head, I found myself completely sucked into the film. There's a definite element of dark comedy as the film crew tries to spin the atrocities around them into chest-thumping propaganda. There really aren't heroes and villains here; both factions think they're working to make a better world, they feel it's their duty to force their ideologies upon billions of other people, and they'll make whatever dark decisions it takes to get them there. I mean, the Russian mindset isn't "Frankenstein and his army must be stopped at all costs!"; it's "Frankenstein ought to be working for us".
It's just that I found myself with borderline-zero investment in any of the Russians. The backstabbing and dark secrets along the way didn't resonate with me, and I found the heavy accents in the dialogue exhausting after a while. Frankenstein's Army lobs out a hell of a lot of action and a sprawling, very diverse selection of creatures, but everything that's not shootouts or zombie robots gets kind of tedious after a while. As much as I love the look of the ZomBots, they don't offer up much in the way of intensity or suspense, especially when they're swiping the camera like something out of Wolfenstein 3D. I think a playful spook-house tone is more of what Frankenstein's Army is going for there anyway. The premise is there, along with a phenomenal set of creature designs, tremendous makeup effects, and a hell of a lot of craftsmanship on both sides of the camera, but as a movie...? I'm disappointed to say that Frankenstein's Army didn't really work for me. Rent It.
Since Frankenstein's Army is trying to mimic the look of a weathered 16mm documentary lensed seven decades back, this Blu-ray
Frankenstein's Army marches in on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.
Falling only behind its steampunk Nazi monsters, the sound design easily ranks among the best things that Frankenstein's Army has going for it. The 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is extremely aggressive, from the spastic, six-channel shootouts to zombie cyborgs encircling their prey. There's an intense emphasis on atmospherics as well, and the low-end is frequently thunderous. Aside from the most chaotic stretches where certain lines are meant to be somewhat lost in the mix, the film's dialogue is balanced flawlessly too. Tremendous work.
A 16-bit PCM stereo track has also been provided alongside subtitles in English (SDH) and Spanish.
The Final Word
As a showcase for demented creature designs and goopy makeup effects, Frankenstein's Army delivers everything I could ever have wanted and then some. As an hour and a half feature film with characters and story and all that, though...? Rent It, although the startlingly low asking price of $10.96 at Amazon as I write this may have you wanting to spring a few extra bucks for a purchase instead.