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Army Of Frankensteins
Independent films can take a lot of risks, and therefore you're more likely to see truly unique ideas there as opposed to big studio films. At times, indies can be incredibly inventive. Other times, you get movies like Army of Frankensteins, whose premise is that a modern disciple of Dr. Frankenstein and his adopted son create an undead monster who then accidentally gets sent back in time to fight in the American Civil War.
Alan Jones (Jordan Farris) is s schlubby sort of fellow who is three months behind on his rent, but has managed to scrape up enough money for an engagement ring. He sees his girlfriend kissing her manager at the grocery store, and storms out angry, only to be kidnapped by barely pubescent genius psychopath Igor (Christian Bellgardt) and taken to his adoptive father's lab. Dad, Dr. Finski (John Ferguson) is an intellectual heir of Frankenstein and has been collecting body parts to make his own Creature (Eric Gesecus). Mostly these body parts come from freshly buried corpses, but from time to time he takes a bit from a living person. In Alan's case, he takes an eye. An interdimensional cross rip is always a risk when reanimating corpses, and as luck would have it a time portal opens up at just the wrong time. But what no one expected is that the one Creature would be multiplied a few dozen times!
Alan, Igor, the doc and the Creatures are all transported back to Civil War times and land right in the middle of a skirmish between the two armies. The doc's body can't handle the transition and he quickly dies. But Alan runs into one of his ancestors, Solomon (Rett Terrell), who luckily is fighting for the North. Along with Solomon's girlfriend Virginia (Raychelle McDonald), they enlist the Creature to fight for the Union, thinking this will ensure victory. Things get complicated from here, as a Southern soldier drinks some of the doc's reanimation formula and becomes a nigh unstoppable monster. Hijinks ensue.
Army of Frankensteins is not a good movie. It's not even really enjoyable in that "so bad it's good" kind of way. The problem is, in many ways this is a technically competent film. Camera work and set design are good, the performances aren't bad. (They're not great, but quite serviceable.) The effects are okay, with the practical effects being superior to the CG efforts. Some of the gore is fun and well done. It's clear that some care was taken while making this movie. But the story is too feckless, unrealistic and random to ever build any tension or create any drama. It's also not terribly funny, which for a horror comedy is a death knell.
This film is doomed not so much by its badness, but by its mediocrity. (And the awful fake facial hair of the Civil War era characters didn't help.) The film is drab and unexciting and doesn't call forth any feeling beyond bemusement. Being generous, this is a Rent It.
The video is 2.35:1 widescreen, and generally looks good. The daytime scenes are considerably sharper than the night scenes, but neither looks really bad. The colors are subtle and delicate. They take advantage of the countryside where they shot, and there are some cool looking vistas.
Audio is available in 5.1 channel surround DTS-HD Master Audio, and 2 channel stereo DTS-HD Master Audio. Both sound fine, but neither is exceptional or impressive. The dialogue is generally easy to discern and no hiss or other problem can be heard. There are a few moments when the dialogue is very muffled, almost indiscernible. But these are few. English subtitles are included.
No extras are included.
Army of Frankensteins isn't awful, but it isn't great either. It sits firmly in the mushy middle, and thus is not very engaging or unique. It seems like they were trying for a sort of gonzo, steampunk, horror historical revisionism, but they couldn't pull the disparate pieces together into a coherent whole. Fans of either Mary Shelley's classic novel, or Civil War history, will probably be irked by the endeavor. Everyone else will simply be bored.