Directors Peter John Ross and John Whitney have a grasp on what horror is, and that’s a plus when you’re watching “Horrors of War”, a pretty intense piece of independent horror that will surely get your goat. If the bad-ass cover doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will. The directors begin “Horrors of War” very much like “Saving Private Ryan” with a massive shoot-out between the Americans and Nazi soldiers, and then suddenly the American troop is attacked by a near invincible zombie. At that moment I found that “Horrors of War” wasn’t simply any horror film, and that’s why it won me over.
Shot in the style of old fashioned war films to maintain a sense of genuine nostalgia, “Horrors of War” fits in so many elements of horror, dark comedy, and war films that it has something for everyone. “Horrors of War” admittedly starts off skittish with a pretty goofy glimpse into the rest of the film, but once we get to the meat of the story, the directors manage to evoke an engrossing character based horror film about a man who has survived two skirmishes with powerful monsters and now has to investigate a secret project being conducted by the Nazis. As everyone knows, during World War 2, Hitler actually had a supernatural division which he hoped would aide him in the domination of the world, so Whitney and Ross jump on this fact with very much creativity.
They examine how these experiments, if successful, would have led to the upper hand on the battlefield and these soldiers really have to stop it before Hitler expands his operations. They have to basically super strong zombie soldiers, and lightning fast werewolves, both of which are deadly enemies that can’t easily succumb to normal artillery. The challenge of “Horrors of War” is for the characters to keep their sanity, remain a team, and find out how to stop the Nazi experiments. But the directors also explore the human monster, the beast in these soldiers whom are never above violent acts against innocent civilians. Their disruption of enemy territory inevitably begins the attacks. Ross and Whitney know how to keep the characters in tact while creating fun action sequences and the inevitable showdown between beast and undead soldier.
Ah, the classic pairing. I just couldn’t help but get déjà vu while watching “Horrors of War” since at times it tended to feel a lot like a retread of “Dog Soldiers”, with a bunch of soldiers out on the field in the middle of the battle finding themselves in the midst of a lot of trouble with werewolves and the like. Now while the concept is not exclusively Marshall’s, there wasn’t a whole lot that individuated from the aforementioned. At times it just didn’t give us what it promised, either. There are werewolves but barely any carnage, and zombies, but not much blood.
Further comparing “Dog Soldiers”, the faces in “Horrors of War” are awfully interchangeable and never did it feel like one person stood out, especially our main character who becomes an unofficial monster hunter. The film is further brought down by the immensely over the top acting in the climax where most of the cast chews up the scenery for the final showdown with the Nazi’s experiments. It may not be the extreme horror film I’ve heard so much about, but “Horrors of War” satisfies as a B horror action film. Directors Whitney and Ross focus on characterization and engrossing scenarios creating an entertaining and interesting horror hybrid for the whole family! Not really. But it sure is a hell of a lot of fun.