World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen, 2015.
Directed by Freddie Hutton-Mills & Bart Ruspoli.
Starring Philip Barantini, Ray Panthaki, Kacey Barnfield, Robert Bladen, Wendy Glenn and Kyle Frank.
A documentary crew travel to the scene of a famous WWI battle to try and uncover what happened there only to discover that most of the soldiers aren’t actually dead.
If there are two sub-genres of horror that have been milked so much there are no nutrients left and the milk has turned to a sour paste then found footage and zombies are those very things, so the prospect of a(nother) found footage zombie movie to sit alongside the other direct-to-DVD titles taking up shelf space in your local supermarket is hardly an enthralling one. World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen arrives on DVD with the promise of all the gore, guts and excitement that has apparently been missing from zombie movies for quite some time and, as you may have gathered, doesn’t… at all. Not one little bit.
It’s starts off okay, though; predictable, but there is a sense of fun as the team of documentary filmmakers, led by director Marcus (Ray Panthaki – 28 Days Later), visit the site in northern France where the Battle of the Somme took place back in 1916 and throw a bit of banter back and forth. After a warning from the French version of Crazy Ralph the group start making their film but after finding a long-dead body with an occult symbol attached to it the group are attacked by what appears to be the zombified corpses of a battalion of German soldiers who happen to be a bit hungry. And then follows the inevitable shaky camera stuff as the film meanders towards the obvious ending that was telegraphed within the first few minutes.
Where World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen looks promising is during the scenes where the crew find the skeletal remains of a South African soldier that they drag from a swamp. Inside the rib cage they find an occult necklace and piece together that the soldier must have swallowed it, prompting their WWI expert Dr. Brian Locke (Robert Bladen) to go through the possibilities of how and why that may have happened, and the eerily quiet atmosphere during this scene is as close to scary or unsettling as the film gets because once that brief glimmer of hope is extinguished and the zombies appear its all over as far as anything approaching fear or excitement is concerned.
That is because poorly lit scenes where the camera flickers and shakes without focusing on anything isn’t terrifying, scary or moody – it’s irritating and lazy, offering nothing and hammering home the fact that the film is totally devoid of anything actually worth looking at as there are no decent kills to speak of. The dialogue once the attacks begin consists of Ray Panthaki shouting “Fuck!” while the surviving characters scrabble around in the dark sobbing and looking for a way out, which is appropriate as that was the same reaction from me when I was watching it. Honestly, even if you’re a zombie movie completest then you’ve probably already got a film exactly the same as World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen in your collection as there is nothing in it that hasn’t been done dozens of times before, and it wasn’t much fun in those films either.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★