It took quite a while for Richard Raaphorst to have his first feature length film canned but now we can all enjoy "Frankenstein's Army", which debuted at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film had its world premiere at a sold out screening of the International Rotterdam Film Festival. And at long last the audience had the chance to have a look at Raaphorst's creation(s) in full splendour. I think a lot of horror fans have been looking forward to the debut of "Frankenstein's Army"; we've been teased by some excellent trailers of his "Worst Case Scenario" and when that project got stuck in development hell, artwork and teasers for his new film surfaced.
In "Frankenstein's Army" everything's filmed from a first person perspective, that person being the soldier Sergei, who's part of a Russian squad that is slowly moving further in Germany. He has the task to document the march of Mother Russia into Germany. So yes, you've read it right: this is a found footage film. When the squadron goes further into the countryside some weird skeletons and soldiers are found. When they pick up a radio signal from some comrades the trail leads them to a church factory and then shits starts to hit the propeller.
The first half builds up slowly towards the second. Starting off with quite some shots of running and some occasional shooting, it gets more interesting when they come up a village where things don't seem right. The part where they start to encounter the first zombots (as Richard has named his creations) almost reminded me of a mix of the video game "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" and more steampunkish elements. Zombots suddenly appear and create havoc amongst the Russians. The second half steps down a bit and offers a better look at Raaphorst's monsters. The encounter of Viktor -the creator of the monstrous nazi soldiers- provides the director to go all out with special effects in the 'laboratory'. This is a place where a gorehound's heart starts beating faster: there are some geeky references, all the monsters and gory effects are real (so almost no computer effects) and that choice pays off. The effects feel real, the zombots are brought to life in a weirdly, wicked way, most of them wearing working mechanical features that gives each of them a unique look.
Raaphorst reaps I was a bit thrown off because of this film being another one in the 'found footage' style. Even though it doesn't bring nothing new to this way of drawing the audience into the film, it is well done: you know you don't get these lame something-was-there-and-now-there-isn't kind of things but you will be treated with some in-your-face gore and great zombots. Also it was hard to get over the accents used by the actors throughout the film, that is always a hard choice to make. Raaphorst his strength is his vision, visuals and details. I expected the film to be a bit more sinister and dark because of the teasers but in the feature itself there is more focus on gore than tension. Luckily he knows his gore and all the effects are really well done. It's great to see his sketches come alive on the big screen and they work well in all their bizarre glory.
I really hope this film will give Richard Raaphorst a chance to create another feature film in which he can explore more of his directional skills outside the found footage genre and is able to provide us another look in his bizarre, creative mind.
Review by slashingthrough from the Internet Movie Database.