The Bunker (2001)
Director: Rob Green
Andrew Lee Potts/Neumann
Germany, 1944, WW2. A platoon of German soldiers hide out in an isolated bunker, to keep their peeved Yankee pursuers at bay. Unbeknownst to our band of “froleigns”, the tunnel system below the bunker happens to be haunted. When the otherworldly forces begin toying with our boys’ fragile noggins, one hell overlaps with another hell. Arrow sings: “If there's something strange in your neighborhood. Who ya gonna call: German-Busters!”
The Evil is within…
In this day and age of wham-bam, quick cut madness, nu-metal horror, it’s invigorating to see a classy genre film akin to "The Bunker". It's not that I don’t value my “commercial” Pop-Tarts as much as the next a-hole, but when you eat chocolate chips cookies day in, day out...it's freaking swell to chomp on an “Oreo” now and again.
This skin crawling “Panzer Division” hooked me in swiftly with its stylish and mature tone and kept me on the line with its spooky and novel setting. That bunker gave me the willies and the ghostly tunnels beneath it were bone-chilling in mood and architecture. The flick followed that up by gradually reeling me in via its slew of appealing characters and their tension filled interaction. Sure, the players on this front weren’t explored much in terms of their backgrounds, but their reactions to the off-kilter circumstances made sure to define them clearly. I was then gutted and hollowed out by the flock of creepy situations, nut-grilling plot turns and macabre imagery (that skeleton wall…brrrrrr). For the grand finale, I was slapped on a plate to act as “dinner” by the thought-provoking message that capped it all off. The atrocity committed by man in the name of God and Country and the shame that comes with it always makes for an absorbing theme. I dug it the most!
On the rusty side of the MG 42, the fact that these German armed forces were mostly played by English actors (talented English actors...but English actors nonetheless) took away from the impact of the state of affairs. I mean, they didn’t even attempt to have a German accent! The proposal of having Nazis face off against paranormal forces cranked my dial to “Fuck Yeah” level, but apart from uber-patriotic and deliciously psychotic Schenke (played to a tilt by Andrew Tiernan) they didn’t feel, smell, fart or sound like German to me. They could’ve been transvestite aboriginals for all I knew! Lastly, although I respected the film’s low key demeanor when it came to its horror mischief, it took a little bit too much time to kick in hardcore for my liking and even at its peak...I still hoped to see the bizarre ghost stuff taken much further. That didn’t happen.
But in general, "The Bunker" was a glowingly acted, tightly paced, elegantly directed and unnerving watch. In the mood for smart, challenging and eerie? Don’t be afraid of no ghost and take this Bunker down!
Gore was not really this film’s G-string, but we were still served a headshot, a BBQ'd face, a ripped off ear, bullet hits, mucho skeletons and a couple of violent stabbings.
By rule of toe, Jason Flemyng (Bauman) is a fine actor all around and that was no exception here. He gave an absorbing and underplayed show. Andrew Lee Potts (Neumann) was especially credible as the more inexperienced lad of the group. Andrew Tiernan (Schenke) was a freaking blast as the aggressive, borderline psychotic soldier with something to prove. Loved him! Simon Kunz (Kupp) gave a mature and grounded showcase. Good stuff Taco!
T & A
None of that stuff in this stuff and we didn’t need that stuff to make this stuff, good stuff!
Green showed much ripeness in his directorial debut via arresting slow-motion, an infectious grim atmosphere, thick tension and “you’re in there, Private” action scenes. I particularly loved the man’s knack at capturing the momentum of specific scenes and his hard-hitting play with contrasts when it came to sound/silence and bright images/dark images. Rob Green is one to watch for!
The understated and morose score by Russell Currie was quite effectual.
Low key, sharp, layered and straightforward are all words that can describe "The Bunker". I so relished in its character-driven nature, its old school feel and its reserved manner. Sure, the flick could’ve milked its horror elements a tad more, but I still felt highly rewarded as the end credits rolled. If subtlety is not your slice of death when it comes to your terror get-downs, don’t bother. But if you love war opuses or genre treats like “Below”, you’ll jungle-boogie with this one till they throw you out the bar. Arrow sings: If you're seeing things running thru your head. Who can you call: German-Busters! An invisible man sleeping in your bed. Who ya gonna call: German-Busters”!
This flick was shot in England and Montreal, Canada.