SOLDIER OF WAR (a.k.a. Aux) *** UK 2018 Dir: John Adams 83 mins
Two teenage lads are messing about in the Forrest shooting rabbits when they discover a WWll underground bunker. As they are exploring the bunker they awake the undead corpse of a former Auxiliary soldier who then goes on a killing spree believing that the Nazis have landed and are invading. Police detectives are baffled and increasingly alarmed about the large number of gruesomely murdered police officers and civilians turning up and believe it to be the work of a deranged serial killer. After a series of odd tales from witnesses and the ramblings of an elderly soldier, as the bodies mount up they start to believe the rumours that the culprit may not be entirely human anymore.
Done with more of a slasher theme in mind rather than your average zombie flick it plays out a little slow and awkward at first but picks up quite quickly to indulge in some good kills, a couple of effective scares and the odd interesting twist along the way. Using the soul zombie as the killer who believes he is protecting his country from invading Nazis is a little different to what we are used to. In true slasher style you don’t see much of him at all to start with but when you eventually do he looks pretty good. It’s mainly prosthetics and masks which are done very well. Unfortunately they opt for a lot of CGI blood and FX in the kills which don’t always look that great. Towards the end though there are some cleverly placed booby traps that make for some fun impalings. The acting isn’t too bad for the most part but the dialogue is sometimes awkward, eccentric and very typically British. I found most of the characters inoffensive and quite relatable. One rather obnoxious police officer will have you cheering at his demise which is sudden and effective. Some of the lesser cast have some very cliche lines but there is a bit of room for humour. John Rhys-Davies as Jack is the stand out character for me and delivers my favourite line in the whole movie “I shot him in the bunker “. It’s a good eerie location and mostly well shot. A few times they adopt a weird silent start to several scenes which eventually fades the sound in that I never really felt worked all that well. I have never really been a fan of zombies that don’t eat people and kill using weapons or explosives but I have to admit that some of his more inventive kills were entertaining. The ending was also a bit different and, dare I say it, actually rather sweet. I enjoyed this more then I thought I would and would happily watch it again.
Review by Sarah Budd