Review: Devils of War / Cert: 15 / Director: Eli Dorsey / Screenplay: Eli Dorsey / Starring: Jerry L. Buxbaum, Lawrence Anthony, Jeremiah Grace/ Release Date: Out Now
Once upon a time, in Nazi occupied Poland...
Sadly, it's the spirit of Uwe Boll which lives on through Eli Dorsey's Devils of War, and not Quentin Tarantino. Assembled for a top-secret mission, a crack team of allied forces find themselves trapped behind enemy lines in 1944 Poland. With Dead Snow, War of the Dead and Outpost (not to mention videogames such as Wolfenstein and the Call of Duty add-on modes), the Nazi zombie movie remains as popular a subgenre as ever. Unfortunately, we have yet to see a truly great Nazi zombie film. When the amusing but flawed Dead Snow remains king of the subgenre, you know you have a problem.
Hidden in the woods of Poland, a group of occultist Nazis attempt to create super soldiers, by having their own men possessed by actual demons. In the grandest of Third Reich/occult traditions, these experiments are accompanied by a whole host of mad scientists, buxom nurses and similarly boobed test subjects (all local girls, kidnapped by the Nazi nasties). Our heroes are similar genre archetypes – there's the nice-but-dim cannon fodder, lapsed preacher, racist hick and black hero (here dubbed 'Black Hercules'). The ingredients are primed for a trashy but enjoyable horror film.
Sadly, what could have been an Iron Sky exercise in cheesy, sleazy, slightly kinky exploitation becomes one of the more worthless outings for the subgenre, complete withyawful acting, a terrible script and misjudged comedy. It tries to be offensive, funny and even shocking at times, but just comes across as obvious and cynical. Dialogue exchanges such as “Are you a virgin? I must check your virtue” and “Get out and get me more virgins” appear to have been culled from the script of a particularly tasteless pornographic movie, while the acting isn't much of a cut above that level. As the characters call dibs on the virginity of a recently rescued young lady, the whole thing tumbles head over heels over the line into complete desperation. “Don't be afraid of Big Daddy,” says the supposed hero, offering forth his penis as salvation. I fear I may be making Devils of War sound more worthwhile than it actually is.
Which is a shame, because Devils of War looks much better than most cheap zombie films, with impressively coherent action sequences, decent gore effects and a man character who wields a Samurai sword in the middle of World War II. More of this would have been nice, and less of... well, almost everything else.
The Grindhouse influence sadly lives on, giving folks an excuse to half-arse their way through filmmaking, all in the name of 'irony'. Ironic or not, Devils of War is a bad film.