”Bunker” is a pokey, low-heat/low-energy WWI horror movie rendered in airlessly theatrical strokes by director Adrian Langley.
Some of that staginess wanders into the starchy performances of the leads. And as we start to notice this is the quietest combat film ever and that no characters are acting as panicked or at least as purposeful as soldiers buried underground, trapped with something sinister, might behave, one wonders if this lack of urgency might be traced to the poor director as well.
Patrick Moltane plays Lt. Turner, the stiff-upper-Brit whose stern orders convey a general “No need to hurry” about them as he forms each lovingly-enunciated officer-class cliche.
The urge to mutter “Steady on, man” is hard to overcome, even if you know he can’t hear you.
A squad of Tommies are comfortably ensconced in their own bunker when one of their number notices that Jerry had abandoned his bunker, straight across No Man’s Land. There’s nothing for it but to pop over and have look, wot?
The new Yank medic (Eddie Ramos) and Yank HQ functionary (Sean Cullen) will come along, crawling through the darkness and silencing a manic Hun who seems seriously freaked-out about something he’s experienced as they do.
Sure enough, the bunker they tumble into the trench to reconnoiter turns out to be “sealed from the outside.” Why the devil would they do that?
Before someone can get the words “Something doesn’t feel right” out load, the tiny patrol ducks inside and sees evidence that something decidedly unmilitary has transpired. The German (Luke Baines) nailed to a cross is a big clue.
That’s when explosive and gas-laden bombs entomb them inside, unable to summon help over the field telephone they dragged with them.
The nailed-up German might have some answers, as he’s in pretty good shape for a bloke with spikes through his hands. Let’s make him help dig us out!
The madness and deaths that follow are pro forma and nothing that moves the macabre needle in this horror tale. The squad is blandly cast and played, the pecking order and command dynamic nonsensical and dull.
And the quiet night in the gloomy bowels of the bunker almost make one forget why any of them are there, and that there’s a war on.
The film’s too sober to be a proper fright fest, and too tame and tedious to be a worthy WWI tale.
Rating: R for violence, gore and some profanity
Cast: Patrick Moltane, Eddie Ramos, Quinn Moran, Sean Cullen, Julian Feder, Mike Mihm, Adriano Gatto and Luke Baines.
Credits: Directed by Adrian Langley, scripted by Michael Huntsman. A Blue Fox release.
Running time: 1:37