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“Trench 11” is a claustrophobic, tense, survival thriller that can satisfy fans of history, psychological horror and gore fiends alike.

Even with some predictable moments, Trench 11, with its stellar practical SFX and great performances, is terrific. 

I went on an underground tour in Seattle recently. Just one level under the street, I started to get weirded out thinking about mold, bugs and rats that were likely all around me! In Trench 11, the guys are almost 80 feet underground, and they have to watch out for those things and so much more. German soldiers, poisonous gas, explosions and (it is a horror film) infected zombie-like humans were all working against their efforts to get out alive.

As they say in the film, “This base has been sealed for a reason.” They were all crazy for going there in the first place!

Synopsis: A highly contagious biological weapon, created by German forces in WWI, is discovered by Allied troops as they explore an abandoned underground bunker. Realizing they need to contain and destroy the threat, their mission becomes a fight for survival when one of their own is infected by the deadly parasite and begins to violently attack them. Now, the soldiers need to not only save themselves, but must stop the outbreak before it spreads to the rest of the world.

So, these Allied soldiers had a pretty big job to do — saving the world from a newly engineered parasite! It’s a good thing that, of all the bad experimenting that the Germans are known for, this particular parasite wasn’t one of them. WWI might have turned out very different.

In ‘Trench 11′, the location itself is what lends most of the tension. Director/co-writer Leo Scherman uses that to capitalize on a common fear, that of claustrophobia. The lighting is dark, and the aesthetic is surreal. In this labyrinth, the audience can almost feel the dust in their noses and mouths as both sides travel though the underground tunnels. You never know what or who is right around the corner…or in a small crawlspace with you.

Then there is the horror.

Ultimately, this is a zombie movie, and I love me some zombies! The practical SFX rocked, and there was enough of the monsters and gore to keep blood and guts fans interested. Yet, there wasn’t so much that a thriller fan would be turned off. 

I can’t say I hated seeing monsters rip each other’s faces off (the nose, knows), but the autopsy and torture scenes were super gnarly too!

The acting was powerful (tons of testosterone), and there wasn’t anyone that didn’t do a top-notch job. In this almost completely male cast, I believed the characters and actually cared about a few of them. Rossif Sutherland (Berton), Charlie Carrick (Dr. Priest), Shaun Benson (Muller) and Robert Stadlober (Reiner) stood out to me the most. Rossif (son of Donald Sutherland) was terrific as Berton, who is brought along by the Allied team as the expert on tunneling.

The only female in the film is Veronique (Karine Vanasse), who plays Berton’s girlfriend, and she is just there to give him a beautiful reason to keep moving forward.

Stadlober as Herr Reiner played a terrific German baddie, the guy we could truly hate and want to see dead! He’s crazy, a mad scientist if you will. I mean, he wants to cleanse Europe by engineering slimy killer worms that turn people into zombies. Yuck! My skin still feels crawly!  (The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out. In your stomach and out your mouth. Sorry, that was stuck in my head.)

I also loved Shaun Benson as Muller. Even though he was a German soldier, he was truly one of the heroes of the story.

Trench 11 could also be categorized as a historical thriller.

There are a lot of period appropriate details and set pieces. There may have been flaws in the vintage uniforms and some of the accents, but I’m not an expert. Personally, I was pleased by it all. The setting, as mentioned before, was excellent. It felt very real, very gritty, and a place I would want to get out of fast!

One movie Trench 11 reminded me of was It Comes at Night. Neither of these films tell us anything big at the end and do not have huge crazy climaxes. But in Trench 11, I was excited at the finale to see who survived. Honestly, I was picturing a much gorier ending (I love my gore), so in that way I was a bit disappointed. But I was satisfied none the less.

Trench 11 is now available on Digital and DVD (September 4, 2018 release date) from RLJE Films.

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1 Comment

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  1. on September 5, 2018 at 1:46 am
    Danell Winn wrote:

    Trench 11 is a very claustrophobic like you wrote. I was interested in the fact the filmmaker studied under Cronenberg, which comes through gloriously in this flick.

    Reply

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