Northern France, 1918. World War One is reaching its bloody climax and the end can’t come soon enough for Canadian tunneller Berton (Rossif Sutherland). His superiors, however, need his expertise to get a team of British and American allies inside a secret underground German base. Trench 11 takes you along with Berton deep into the bowels of this underground base unbeknownst of the horrors that await.
The Germans somehow lost control of a highly contagious biological weapon they were developing and testing on their own soldiers. This parasite-like weapon turns the German soldiers into mindless killers. Berton and his team soon find themselves 100 feet underground with these parasite-infected killers, a rapidly spreading disease, and a platoon of German soldiers dispatched to wipe them out.
Co-writer Matt Booi and co-writer/director Leo Scherman create a story that balances both the war and horror genres quite well. Each turn the ally group takes in the dim-lit tunnels, builds tension. Attacks from the zombie-like killers and the German soldiers loom near. Not to disappoint horror fans, watch out for a bloody scene.
Tension, atmosphere, and a strong production overall really drive the film. The set design with its dim lights create the sense of impending danger at any moment. The fact the mindless killers, almost zombie-like, do not run amok works well for me in terms of pacing and mood. The infected soldiers come unexpectedly, surprising their victims. The effects used are modest, however, they are used wisely.
Berton’s character is quiet yet resilient throughout the film. While underground, his mental state fluctuates which is to be expected. The rest of his team is no help in the end. Berton must continue forward if he is to make it out of this situation alive.
Other cast includes award-winning French Canadian actress Karine Vanasse (The Forbidden Room, Polytechnique), Charlie Carrick (Reign), Shaun Benson (ARQ, Channel Zero), and Ted Atherton (River). Along the Canadian crew is award-winning German actor Robert Stadlober (Crazy, Summer Storm) who plays the role of ‘Reiner’. A small but strong group overall.
I also want to highlight Grayson Matthews‘ film score. At first I was not entirely sure it would work, yet it does. The score music is not of the same time as that in which the film takes place, but it fits the film in creating an almost haunting atmosphere. Some of you may disagree, and I am okay with that. Another minor hiccup in my opinion, is the short screen time Vanasse (the only female character) receives early in the film. That is my personal bias, for obvious reasons.
Overall, Trench 11 does not disappoint. The crew’s decent into virtually the unknown will keep you in suspense. Scherman and team create a believable war-horror film. The films opes across Canada on August 31. Check local listings for details.