Where Axis and Allied Zombies Fight the Living
by TS Alan
Captain Niemi (Jouko Ahola) leads a Finnish task force with the help US Capt. Martin Stone (Andrew Tiernan) on a mission to seek out and destroy a secret German bunker now under Russian control. What Captain Niemi hasn’t told anyone is that the bunker had been used for a failed Nazi “Anti-Death” experiment on captured Russian soldiers three years earlier, and the “experiments” where buried in mass graves in the forest.
Running into a Russian ambush on the way to their target, most of the task force is wiped out. Later that evening they are attacked not only by the Russian soldiers that they had killed earlier, but also by Nazis; all of which seem to be endowed with superzombie abilities.
Niemi along with Stone, Finnish Lt. Laakso (Mikko Leppilampi) and an assistant war film journalist (Andreas Wilson) escape through the woods where they come across an English speaking Russian soldier named Koyla (Samuel Vauramo). Surrendering, Koyla eventually tells the group he can lead them to a special bunker where he knows there is a radio they can call for help from, the same bunker they were tasked to find and destroy.
What follows are intense, sometimes nail biting fight scenes as the remaining soldiers hunt through the catacomb of tunnels searching for the elusive radio room, trying to stay alive, and discovering the secret to how these über-zombies came to be, all culminating in a bare knuckle showdown between Capt. Stone and the recently undead Captain Niemi.
I have always had a problem with zombies that are of a supernatural nature, that is the reason why I completely disliked Steven Miner’s 2008 remake of Day of the Dead. Zombies should not be crawling across ceilings or jumping like they are parkour athletes. Though there is a lot of fast, jumping zombies, I did have slight issue with them dropping from the tops of towering trees onto the unsuspecting soldiers. Nitpicking as that may be, I get that they are über-zombies that can run and fight, and are nearly unstoppable, which would allow them to scale up the timbers and wait for their prey. Putting that aside, what we have left is exactly what Mäkilaakso set out to do: make a straightforward action film with realistic battle scenes with plenty of explosions, great hand-to-hand fight scenes, and zombies (both of the Nazi and Russian kind) that purposely relies more on shadowy lighting effects than full prosthetics to give the undead a mysterious and sinister appearance.
While War of the Dead certainly didn’t come up with combining Nazis with the undead and doesn’t break any new ground, it is more coherent and non anti-climactic than its contemporary Outpost, and more action packed then Dead Snow War of the Dead delivers exactly what Director Mäkilaakso set out to do — entertain you with dark and atmospheric action packed thriller loaded with lots of evil Nazi zombies.
War of the Dead
Directed by Marko Mäkilaakso
Written by Marko Mäkilaakso (screenplay), Marko Mäkilaakso (story), Barr B. Potter
Cast: Andrew Tiernan, Jouko Ahola, Samuel Vauramo, Mikko Leppilampi, Andreas Wilson, Antti Reini, Magdalena Górska
Run Time: 86 minutes
Release Date: Out on Blu-ray and DVD worldwide.