Top critical review
More of a World War II action film. Not really a zombie movie in most respects.
on February 14, 2016
This is the biggest budget film ever made in Lithuania and the cinematography and general look of the film are its most redeeming values. It looks like more than the B-movie that it is. Oddly, it was directed by a Finnish director (Marko Makilaakso), uses mostly Finnish actors and takes place in Finland during World War II. I guess the financing came from Lithuania and stipulated that the film be shot in Lithuania (near Vilnius, the capital.
I saw this film because of its inclusion on various lists of zombie films, of which I am a fan, so some explanation has to given for these "zombies". They are neither the slow, classic Romero zombies nor the fast "infected" which eventually became a popular variation. I would have to call them simply "undead" as the director, who also wrote the script, took enough liberties with the creatures to make them something of his own. It has become somewhat common to try new things with the zombie concept, though the results generally have not been popular with audiences.
These undead are the result of Nazi medical experiments on unwilling soldiers attempting to make super-soldiers who can only be killed if shot in the head or decapitated. These experiments are carried out in an underground bunker somewhere in Finland. They succeed beyond expectations. these zombie-soldiers can get up from any attack that does not destroy their brain. they are fast and limber and can even jump great heights and distances as usually only vampires can do. They can act in an organized and planned way together. They can fight hand to hand, even fistfight. For these reasons I don't consider them zombies, they're too much like super-strong humans and the result is a WWII action film in most respects.
The film has other problems. The script is very perfunctory, with stock characters with no development, so it's hard to feel anything about them. The script is also muddled to the extent that I never did figure out who the frightened photographer was or why some of the characters seemed hostile to each other. Forget history here as well, since little is given and if you know the actual background during the Finns Winter War against Russia when they were compelled to become technically allies of Nazi Germany, you'll know the set up here is bogus. There wouldn't be an American Captain assisting a Finnish captain and his platoon to fight Russia in 1941. I think they just wanted a non-Finn actor and got a decent Irish actor, Andrew Tiernan for the part of the captain. Since most of this takes place underground, the lighting is dark and despite the good cameras, the general darkness and similar uniforms make it difficult to tell one side from the other, even though the "other" is undead.
To give it credit, the sets and costumes were well done and look right for the period. The acting is reasonably good considering that they don't have much to say. The Russian soldier who joins up with them is nicely played. The fighting and action scenes are well done, which is important because this is basically an all-action film. But still, when you add it all up, it's just a routine war-action picture with an enemy that is hard to kill. It is by no stretch of my imagination a zombie film. It's OK as an action film and under 90 minutes.