Hell Hath No Fury, 2021.
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson.
Starring Nina Bergman, Daniel Bernhardt, Timothy V. Murphy, Dominiquie Vandenberg, Louis Mandylor, Charles Fathy and Josef Cannon.
Following the end of World War II and the Allied victory in Europe, a squad of American forces hunt for Nazi gold hidden in the secret grave of German officer Von Bruckner (Bernhardt). French resistance operative Marie (Bergman) was his lover, and now leads the Americans as their captive to find his grave. But Marie must contend with fleeing Nazi soldiers and corrupt resistance fighters along the way who all want the gold for themselves…
A short 85 min war-time action drama from director Jesse V. Johnson that doesn’t spend time on large scale action sequences or set pieces but keeps the locations sparse (mainly set in a graveyard) and the characters minimal to form shaky relationships. With the war over in theory, this is a time when it was everyman for themselves, and soldiers wanted as much as they could get from a country torn apart. In this instance, it’s Nazi gold hidden in the grave of a notorious German officer, played with sly relish by Daniel Bernhardt in a series of flashbacks.
It’s all about the relationships between the American forces led by Louis Mandylor’s tough-talking Major Maitland opposite French resistance fighter Marie, played with a steely eyed exterior by Nina Bergman. After a war that evidently changes everyone during and after, we get to learn why this gold is both hidden and sought. It means to much to different people, and different morals and points of view come into play during the search. Keeping the film in a shady countryside cemetery lets this characters play off each other, but also offer up some claustrophobic shoot-outs and heated confrontations, mixing natural beauty tarnished by war. It’s also refreshing to have French and English speaking roles throughout, adding to the more natural feel of this story.
Johnson keeps the whole production very simple as a DTV offering, yet it stands strong on the authenticity of what we see and hear. Without resorting to gimmicks, the story retains the morality of war fronted by our leads who are on the same side, but keep the lines blurred so you never know who or what may throw in a curve ball. Especially with three forces – French resistance, American army and Nazi soldiers – circling around the gold where not everyone will reap the reward of surviving a war.
After a slow start where we need to get under the skin of our characters and appreciate the focus on people rather than fighting, it picks up pace as the stakes increase and the final act is a worthy pay-off for spending with the rag-team unit. When Nazi soldiers come knocking with rifles, you know it’s not going to be a quiet ending! Thanks to the already tense and realistic setting, a number of grizzly special effects in both make-up and pyrotechnics lend that ever faithful practical touch to the horrors of war rather than cheap CGI nonsense.
Small in scale and simple in story, Hell Hath No Fury never wanders from the core point it wants to tell, and throws in a few welcome twists during it’s climax. A worthy, and somewhat unique, addition to the genre thanks to a passionate crew and cast who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty to truly prove that hell hath no fury…you know the rest.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★