Do you wanna know just how good War of the Dead (formerly Stone’s War) is? Consider this; I heard of this about 4 years ago and placed it in my mental tracker, checking in periodically to find no new information about a release or even a scheduled date. It finally appears on the calendar – I shill for the ebay-DVD and wait patiently like a good boy.
The DVD arrived earlier this week. I watched the film three days ago, took my usual notes and now (if you didn’t let me look at my notes) all I would remark is ‘how are Nazi zombies more dangerous or scary than regular Nazis?’. (You know, the regular Nazis who killed millions and started two World Wars?)
In the closing stages of WW2 those pesky Nazis were running more tests. If they spent as much time looking elsewhere they might’ve cured cancer, instead though they come up with an ‘anti-death’ solution.
In layman’s terms they invent zombies.
As with many discoveries this development eventually comes back to bite them on the backside. And the leg… and the torso… and you can see where I’m going with this.
Into the trouble zone trudge a war-weary platoon of multi-national bad actors, lead by Captain Stone – who it must be said rocks the worst American accent I can recall, I mean why not just make the character British instead of making the guy butcher what can be a grating accent to start with?
This crime against my eardrums is less an accent than an acc(id)ent.
Once the Nazis show it’s pretty much a standard war movie, except that the ‘anti-death’ ability means you have to shoot them twice. This is onerous and adds a step but hardly more perilous than being shot at, which is what happens when you come up against Nazis in battle.
The zombies still carry weapons, still move in careful military formations, they even wear hats. I guess they are more athletic somehow in their undead state, leaping every which way from trees, through windows and over various things. Aside from that – and the fact they eat what they kill – they are your run of the mill deadly foes really.
The locations are perfectly adequate, the sets, lighting, camera-work and stunts are all OK. That’s the pluses, the rest of the film is a pass mark at best, but often less than that. The acting is uniformly terrible (I’ve mentioned the accents), the plot is derivative aside from the new unnecessary undead element, and the action is all too familiar to anyone who has seen any of the countless films that War of the Dead is inferior too.
War of the Dead isn’t all time terrible, but it is totally unnecessary, and in the three or four years that elapsed since it was announced the unlikely element of ‘Nazi zombies’ has already been done in Dead Snow.
All that remains is a formulaic zombie film reminiscent of a dozen others, only with better dressed zombies… who hate Jewish people and love awful techno.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. Sometimes the anticipation is better than the experience. War of the Dead has moments of competence, but someone in the water who has moments of swimming will still drown. So too does this film, taking the double-dead zombies with guns with it.
Nazis will kill you whether they are zombified or not, the zombie element is pointless. They might as well have said that they had AIDS as well…