Directed by Michael J Bassett
Screenplay by Michael J Bassett
Cast: Jamie Bell, Hugo Speer, Matthew Rhys, Laurence Fox, Andy Serkis, Hugh O'Conor, Hans Matheson, James McAvoy & Kris Marshall
2002/95 mins/Color/DTS 6.1
2.35:1 anamorphic/UK & Germany/English/NTSC Region 3
Review from the Lark Films through Asia Video Publ. Co. DVD
"Western front, 1917. In the chaos of a trench war battle, a small company of men get lost, surrounded by a thick, mysterious fog. As they emerge from it, they come across a deserted German trench. Convinced they have broken through the enemy lines, they decide to secure the trench and begin to explore it. Only to find mutilated German corpses everywhere. Something very strange and evil has happened here. When one of them is found horribly murdered, wrapped in barbed wire, they know they are not alone."
DEATHWATCH is another recent British horror film that I found to be well done. Along with other surprise Brit movies, such as DOG SOLDIERS, I'll be watching their horror productions a lot more closely.
The only well known actor here is Jamie Bell but don't let that put you off as all the performances are excellent. All of the characters are as varied as one would expect in a hodge podge of people with different personalities thrown into a war and all emerge in somewhat memorable ways. Andy Serkis, as Quinn, is especially so as a violent psychopath who loves killing and has found his life's niche in war.
This movie is very atmospheric, dark, and gloomy. There are some excellent gore and F/X in this one that are above average and what little CGI that's used is quite good. Fear poisons reason and as another viewer said, "War may have an honourable rationale, but what happens during it has none." There's no camaraderie with these soldiers - they're lost, can't contact their leaders, and as power struggles emerge and grow, they start to turn on one another. There is an evil presence here feeding on all of this, an evil that cannot be defeated by either side. DEATHWATCH has four of the five Rocky "D"'s bachelor "B"'s - blood, beasts, bangs, and bullets - no breasts.
The transfer is excellent and the many dark/shadow scenes show well. Colors are right on. The soundtrack, in both DD 6.1 and DTS 6.1, is very good. The menus are minimal (translates to poor) and there are no extras. The disc is housed in a snapper case which at least has some decent artwork. The musical score is very nice and enhances the gloomy darkness of the story.
I found DEATHWATCH to be a decent movie and a pleasant surprise - one that doesn't follow traditional Hollywood styles and is certainly original. Recommended.
This Film Features:
Review by Brad Vautrinot. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©
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