Movie Review: Frankenstein’s Army (2013, Dir. Richard Raaphorst)

Frankenstein's Army 2013

Monsters can be lots of fun, especially an army of monsters being created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein during World War II. However, monsters without any context can be painfully boring, and that’s just what Frankenstein’s Army is… a tedious film that would have been better as a 15-minute short.

Richard Raaphorst has managed to give the found footage sub-genre another black eye by filming Frankenstein’s Army as if it is a first person shooter. Many ex-girlfriends of gamers will attest that watching someone else play a video game is much like being tortured. Frankenstein’s Army may not be quite as bad, but it’s pretty damn close. The film is a lot like playing a multi-player first person shooter for the first time. Everything is zipping by so fast that you have no idea what is going on, and by time you do figure it all out, you realize you hate the game anyway.

Raaphorst does manage to deliver some interesting monsters as advertised, but they’re not enough to save the film. Actually, the best part of Raaphorst’s creations is that they signal the end of the movie. Instead of enjoying them, you will be checking your watch while wondering how much more you will have to endure. Yes, there is an awesome Nazi version of R2D2, and some  other interesting monstrosities walking the halls of Frankenstein’s catacombs, but Raaphorst is too focused on giving the entire audience motion sickness instead of trying to do anything interesting with his creations. Raaphorst could have done his monsters more justice by just holding a slideshow of his concept art set to rock music.

Raaphorst is a modern day Frankenstein himself, and could potentially give Guillermo del Toro a run for his money. Guillermo claims he creates monsters unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, but Raaphorst comes much closer to achieving it. It’s just a shame that he and his Nazi abominations were not teamed up with a better script, or any script at all. Karel Roden’s great performance as Victor Frankenstein was wasted along with Raaphorst ‘s army of monsters. Like I said above, this could have been an amazing 15-minute short, but instead it’s like watching a 90-minute YouTube video of somebody playing Resident Evil.

Frankenstein’s Army offers no narrative or characters  for the audience to hold onto. It’s just a headache inducing, shaky cam nightmare that leaves you wondering what the hell happened. Raaphorst not only proves that the found footage sub-genre is tired, but so is the Nazi monster exploitation film. This movie is destined to be a Netflix streaming freebie that sounds good on paper, but does not deliver.

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