Grimmfest 2017: Trench 11

The first feature of Saturday afternoon at Grimmfest 2017 was Trench 11, an intense and claustrophobic WWI set ‘zombie’ film.

Leo Scherman’s film is rather a unique one in the zombie genre in the sense that the action comes in sudden sharp bursts and then dials down again rather than having lengthy scenes of pure action like the majority of modern ‘zombie’ films do.

It is a story of experimentation gone out of control and an allied team sent to find out exactly what the Germans are doing down in an underground base eleven miles behind their lines at this late stage in the war. Once they make their way down into the labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers, the film becomes a dark, tense and incredibly intriguing one to watch.

All performances here are strong, led by Rossif Sutherland, son of Donald Sutherland and the story presents us with the idea of enemies coming together for the greater good, to go against the true villain of this film, Herr Reiner (Robert Stadlober), the man behind the biological experiments that have caused German soldiers to turn into these infected ‘zombies’.

Trench 11 spends more time on the relationships between characters than anything else and that is always a joy to see in this type of film. It could have so easily been a forgettable action film if it wasn’t clear that the director really took care when making this.

In his introduction video before the screening, director Leo Scherman said that this film had been a labour of love for him for around four years and he should be very proud of his finished product.

It is certainly the filmmaking itself that is the strongest aspect of this film. From the production design (vital to any period piece) to the cinematography to the lighting, it makes this low budget film not feel that way. That is a testament to the creativity behind the scenes.

Charlie Carrick, who plays Dr. Priest in the film spoke after the film saying how interesting he found it researching for the role and looking up WWI era medical books for one particularly revolting autopsy scene he had to play. That scene seemed almost Cronenberg-esque in its quality of body horror and definitely succeeded in what it was trying to do.

Carrick also told me just how impressive some of the outdoor sets were to walk on for such a low budget film.

Trench 11 is absolutely a film to look out for. If you’re looking for tension, an intriguing period setting and short sharp bursts of action with a touch of body horror thrown in, it’s safe to say you will not be disappointed.

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