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There just aren't enough war-themed horror movies. Sure, some do exist, but for such a wide range of locations and stories, war-related horror has only scratched the surface. I'd sure love to see a zombie movie during the Revolutionary War or maybe a werewolf in the Vietnam War. The possibilities are endless. When I saw Deathwatch was set during World War I, I thought it was a good setting for a horror movie that hadn't been done too much.
Deathwatch follows a small company of British soldiers in the German trenches. A low haze covers the company, but what is first feared to be mustard gas turns out to be an inexplicable fog. When the fog lifts, the group come across a trench and capture a German soldier. The soldier informs them that the trench is evil, but they ignore him and hunker down. Strange voices, sounds, and disturbing visions start to play tricks on the British soldiers' minds. The soldiers begin to unravel and the bodies start piling up. Will the soldiers survive, what is happening, and is there something more to this isolated German trench than meets the eye?
You feel a bit warm. Better sit out the rest of the war.
Deathwatch is full of action and suspense. The early battle scenes would fit in with any war movie, with its believable explosions and gunfire. The isolated location of the trench was a good choice, aided by grey skies and a low-hanging fog. You practically feel the dirt and blood under your finger nails as the soldiers sit and wait for help that is never going to come. You can almost smell the gun smoke and mildew. The acting is good all around, each actor playing their part well. Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) is especially good as the hulking and brutal Private Quinn, but I can't get over the fact that he was also Golem. It's nice to see him get a chance to be in front of the camera for a change, though.
The story itself, while not wholly unique, does get a nice spin from it's historical and physical location. If you've seen one supernatural movie where people go insane, you've seen them all. There's a bit of blood and a few creative kills, but most of the horror and suspense comes from the fear of the unknown. There is a moral to the story and you can pretty much see where the movie is going from the first 15 minutes or so. It was a bit predictable and that took some of the excitement out of watching the movie all the way through.
That's for falling on my spaghetti and meatballs!
Ultimately, Deathwatch is a typical horror movie with a unique setting and location. The acting really helps the film set itself apart from other psychological supernatural horror movies. Good action keeps you interested and the suspense keeps you fearful. It does feel a bit heavy-handed in the moral department and is fairly predictable. If you like your surprises, you'll be disappointed. Otherwise, Deathwatch has it's merits and is a fairly enjoyable watch.