Bunker: Review. By Rudie Obias
From Star Wars to From Dusk Till Dawn, mashing up movie genres isn’t new. You can get a lot of great concepts by blindfolding yourself, walking into a video store (hey, remember those), picking two random titles from the different shelves, and letting your imagination run free. Or for younger readers, playing Netflix Roulette with the first two spins.
Case in point: Bunker is a World War I movie wrapped inside of a paranoid thriller/horror movie that offers some really good genre elements like scares, tension, and gore. However, its ambition quickly outweighs its execution, while the movie doesn’t completely live up to its promise.
From director Adrian Langley and screenwriter Michael Huntsman (in his debut film), Bunker follows a group of World War I-era British and American soldiers who attempt to claim a German bunker after its soldiers unexpectedly abandon it. Once the Brits and Americans cross “No Man’s Land,” they discover that only one German soldier is left behind, while everyone is trapped underground after the Germans bomb their own bunker. The soldiers start to dig their way out and radio for help, but they are trapped with a mysterious entity waiting for them in the shadows.
While the premise alone is worth the price of admission, Bunker falls very short and isn’t at all as deep as once perceived. From the start of the film, it kicks off with an impressive opening credits sequence with a fantastic marching score from Andrew Morgan Smith that feels like a mix between composers Frank De Vol and Ennio Morricone (in their war and western films). It’s the big standout of the movie, while it signals to the audience that this movie is going to be a thrilling, genre-heavy film. While the film is small in scope, it feels larger-than-life—thanks to the score. However, that feeling is short-lived as the movie plays out.
One of the biggest problems is once the soldiers are trapped inside and the tension is stretched more and more, it feels as if the movie has no place to go. While the claustrophobic tone apes elements of John Carpenter’s The Thing or Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, as the soldiers start to go mad and lose trust with each other, it doesn’t seem to add up to anything much. The tension seems to be broken about 40 minutes in, which is unfortunate because Bunker is 107 minutes long.
In many ways, Bunker feels like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone with characters in an extraordinary situation questioning the reality that they found themselves in. Those elements appear in the movie too. Once the soldiers are trapped and start to go mad, they start to question religious convictions, loyalty, and even patriotism during wartime, but overall, it feels disappointing. Any goodwill that the film received at the beginning of the movie is nearly squandered as it unfolds, simply because it goes in circles to pad out its story and runtime. In addition, The Twilight Zone benefits from being only 30-minute episodes, while Bunker has to have the weight of a movie behind it—which, sadly, it just doesn’t have.
Rudie Obias lives in Brooklyn, New York. He’s a freelance writer and editor who is interested in cinema, pop culture, music, NBA basketball, science fiction, and web culture. His work can be found at Fandom, TV Guide, Metacritic, Yahoo!, Battleship Pretension, Mashable, Mental Floss, and of course, BRWC.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.