Horror War
The Bunker
.
Dir: Rob Green
Star: Jason Flemyng, Christopher Fairbank, Andrew Tiernan, Jack Davenport
Cert / Year: 15 / 2001
Format: DVD R2
'

In 1944 on the Belgium border after months of hard fighting the remnants of an elite German Panzer grenadier regiment are retreating under heavy enemy fire. They take refuge in an isolated anti tank bunker manned by two reservists (an old man and a young boy). Low on ammunition and with no help arriving they seem to be trapped. Unsure of how many attackers are out there as night falls their nerves begin to fray. Is there a way out through some half finished tunnels under the bunker, or is what waits down there more terrifying than any mortal enemy.

The Bunker is a difficult movie to pigeon hole. It was sold as a supernatural horror film, but that isn't strictly true. It not a straight forward war movie either. In would be closer to say that it is a journey into the darkest depths of the human mind. It is a frightening example of what extreme stress can do to a group of people. It is like the early part of the movie The Keep but without the supernatural monsters. So those out there expecting a straight forward ghost story may be disappointed. However I think the end result is a far more interesting.

Without doubt the star of the film is the bunker itself. There is something about fortifications with their thick featureless concrete walls, tiny windows, and dark cold interior that is tomb like. They are designed to keep people out, but in turn they are not easy to get out of. In this case things are made more unnerving by the addition of a set of dark tunnels dimly lit by a flickering generator. To ramp up the tension even more the film is set at night and in a rain storm. Cleverly most of the scenes are shot from inside the bunker, with the end result that you feel claustrophobic and trapped along with the unfortunate troops. Surrounded by unseen enemies outside the troops are pushed to breaking point when they discover the tunnels gruesome past, and in doing so they take you with them.

All of the this is handled really well by newcomer Rob Green. The opening scene of the soldiers under attack running to the bunker is superb. Bullets from the unseen attackers zip into the earth all around them as they flee, and the danger is doubled by the panicked "friendly fire" of the reservists in the bunker. Before long you find out they are trapped and in a hopeless situation, the tension builds as it becomes apparent that the new comers to the bunker have a dark secret. The direction is very good as you really can cut the atmosphere with a knife, and this is never ruined by a lack of budget.

The script is for the most part good, but occasionally things do go a bit strange. The story is excellent, however every now and again the action becomes a little confusing, a situation not helped by the dark tunnels and similarity of all of the characters uniforms. More than once in the film you will be faced with the question who was that, or where did he go. However these things are offset by strong performances from Jason Flemyng, Christopher Fairbank (together before appearing in Below) and especially Andrew Tiernan as the psychotic Schenke.

As I said at the top of the review those of you expecting an out and out horror film may be disappointed. The Bunker at the end of the day this is more of a psychological thriller. However this doesn't take away anything from what is a very effective film. Thanks to a good cast and neat direction it is packed full of tension as you are dragged into the madness the soldiers face. It is a movie that never lets its limited budget show as the money has obviously been spent in the right places, and it is a benefit that it can't rely on computer effects or silly monsters. This is the film The Keep should have been, a journey into the true terror of war.

Tagline

The evil is within.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

DVD
Picture 16:9 Not a bad transfer but a bit grainy at times.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Nice effects especially at the beginning.
Features Two short films by the same director
Audio Commentary
1 Extended and 2 Deleted scenes
Making of Featurette (20 mins)
Stills Gallery
Trailer
Press Coverage Notes
Verdict A prtty good transfer and a large number of extras makes this a very commendable disc.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home