Film Review: TRENCH 11 (Canada 2017) ***

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Trench 11 Poster

In the final days of WWI a shell-shocked soldier must lead a mission deep beneath the trenches to stop a German plot that could turn the tide of the war.


Leo Scherman


Matt BooiMatt Booi | 2 more credits »

TRENCH 11 is set in the year 1918, a year well known for being the year World War 1 ended.  There are a lot of interesting events occurring during the last year of a World War that makes good cinema.  The recent Hungarian film entitled 1945 is an example of another film set in the last year of a War.

But TRENCH 11 is a fictional horror film.  The premise is that those no-good Germans have been practicing scientific warfare again under our noses, in fact 78 feet underground in those trenches.  Some virus has gone loose and it must be contained or the outcome of the end of WWI might turn out quite differently.

At its worst, TRENCH 11 disintegrates into a zombie flesh-eating movie set in the trenches with cheap prosthetics effects, like a face with the nose eaten away.  The dialogue can turn clichéd too as in the example of the line spoken:  “This place was not built to keep people out.  It was built to keep people in.”

At best director Schermna uses the effects of the film’s setting to create real horror, as in the darkness and claustrophobia of the trenches.  The lighting is carefully done so that more often then not, only the essentials are seen – the faces as they peer through the corridors of the trenches.  There is always suspense created when a character turns the corner, as it is dark and no one can see what lurks there.  A few worthy scenes here such as throne with the German and Canadian sitting down to have a drink together,

Humour is provided by the German Officer Reiner, who wants to cleanse Europe by the disease.  Austria actor Robert Stadlober camps it up too, playing Rainer as a complete lunatic.  One can almost imagine the froth coming out of his mouth.  The main lead belongs to Rossif Sutherland (brother of Keifer and son of Donald Sutherland) playing a tunneller who is given the dauntless task of leading the group out of the trenches.  The script also calls for an asshole major.  Oblivious to good safety and common sense, he risks everyone’s lives.  ” We are here to complete a vitally important mission and by God I intend to see that it is done.”  He is disposed with early in the picture, which is a shame as he livens up the film.   The tunneller’s romance with a girl called Veronique (Karine Vanasse) is what spurs the tunneller on.  Director Scherman makes good use of  the dynamics of the different forces (Americans, British, Canadian).

The zombies or Germans infected with the deadly disease are scary enough, if one can strain through the darkness to catch a glimpse of them.  What is even more disgusting are the parasitic worms that wiggle in and out of the corpses’ wounds.  The worms are thin and squirmy (as opposed to fat and juicy), still guaranteed to make ones skin crawl.

TRENCH 11 ends up a scary enough horror movie with interesting characters making effective use of its World War setting.  The film has won rave  reviews when it was premiered at the After Dark Film Festival in Toronto.



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