Devils of War (2013)

Devils of War (2013)

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Nazi tradition dictated that he have a ruler clenched between his buttocks.
Nazi tradition dictated that he have a ruler clenched between his buttocks.

Twitter Plot Summary: A crack team of soldiers is sent into Nazi occupied Germany to stop their demon-summoning plans.

Five Point Summary:

1. That guy on the black and white film playing The President? Terrible acting.
2. Okay, so that’s the opening gunfight we saw in the flashback. Again.
3. It looks like everybody has been badly dubbed.
4. Intercutting between a love scene and demonic possession. Classy.
5. That sounds like the music from PS2 game Underworld Eternal War.

What happens when you throw a team of American soldiers behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Poland to stop their attempts at raising an army of demon soldiers? Not much, apparently.

Devils of War runs for a just-about feature length of 72 minutes, which is perhaps for the best. The acting is bad, the effects are bad, and the story is bad. The German foot soldiers all wear ski masks to hide the fact there are likely only six actors playing the Nazi hordes. The Americans are a bundle of stock cutouts – the white racist, the grizzled veteran commander, the tall one and the black man. The latter opts to spend all his time wearing a hachimaki headband and wielding a katana, because he served in the Pacific Theatre, but that’s essentially his only defining characteristic. On the other side of the good/evil divide are a sadistic Nazi commander and two blonde women who, random bouts of  nudity aside, are content to walk around in poorly fitting white shirts and black skirts.

Unlike most low budget efforts, you can see almost everything clearly in Devils of War, as if they forgot to add the film filter in post production. Everything looks a little too clean, a touch too pristine and that in turn makes the effects look cheap and hastily added. The soundtrack too is an odd one, it’s like the MP3’s got mixed up and they had to use the “Cheesy Western Themes” album rather than the gritty WW2 tracks that they initially intended to use. A brief glimpse at the credits shows that royalty free stock music was used liberally throughout, which doesn’t help elevate it above amateur fare.

Suffice to say, she wasn't impressed with what she saw.
Suffice to say, she wasn’t impressed with what she saw.

In terms of the demonic stuff that you were expecting, very little of that happens – the majority of the story is groups of men shooting at each other in the forest. So much so that, by the time you’ve seen the same sequence twice, the introduction of an MG3 (or similar) machine gun is a welcome distraction, even if that sequence goes on far longer than is absolutely necessary and again features re-used frames as the German gunner grimaces in sadistic pleasure. When the demonic possession angle does show up, it’s a disappointment. Brief scenes of people’s eyes turning an evil shade of orange and/or red and some morphing effects are the best you’ll get.

From start to finish there’s only one truly well thought out shot, and that’s where the commando team walk towards a sunset, only their outlines clear against the horizon. The remainder is hastily put together, actors following the George Lucas style of performance – faster, more intense. They give it a good shot, for the most part, but I feel they’ve been let down by the director. The plot, thankfully, does at least remain coherent, although the execution of it is marred by both the direction and th specific details within the script as a whole. The real pity is that with a few tweaks it could’ve been a far better film. Instead, it’s lacklustre tale, seemingly filmed in a hurry and not given the level of attention it deserved.

Score: 1/5

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