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March 26, 2013

Movie Review: Deathwatch (2004)

by Peggy Christie

This is a little optimistic movie from Britain about World War I and Death. Deathwatch is the story of a platoon of rough and tumble soldiers fighting during WWI. From your greenhorn teenager to your psychotic trophy keeper, this gang gets caught behind enemy lines and has to haul ass out of the trenches to reach safety. They just have to get past enemy soldiers, poison gas, barbed wire, monsoon rain and foot-deep mud. What could possibly go wrong?

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 Just when you think they’re done for, we switch over to the group trudging through thick fog in search of safer war zones. Where’s the enemy? What happened to the battlefield? Why is it suddenly daytime?

But who’s got time for the tough questions when they fall upon an enemy trench holding three Kraut soldiers. A-Ha! Take the bastards down, capture and secure the trench, and wait for back up.

Unfortunately, and obviously, our Brit Boys go a little wonky stuck in a mucky trench, despite trying to keep busy with guard duty and security issues and all that. Something is wrong in the trench (gee, ya think?). Something evil is lurking amidst the barbed wire and corpses and mud, hunting them. While sounds of the war rage on, that seem to morph into terrible screeching and screaming, our heroes try to hold it together in hopes the allied forces will save them before it’s too late.

Yep. I had 90% of the movie figured out once they were hiking through the fog (which is ten minutes in). I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain it to you guys but:

SPOILER! They’re dead!

I just didn’t have the other 10% reasoned out to fill in the story line.

Since I was painting my toenails at the time, I was a bit worried about missing details. Yeah…not so much a big concern. It was a clichéd group of soldiers: stickler for duty, psycho who liked to take scalps, young kid who lied about his age to enlist, leader who falls apart like a little girl, chaplain that loses faith, etc., etc., etc. I actually felt worse for the German soldiers who were unfortunate enough to be found by the group.

Almost every scene felt like, “Seen it. Been done. Over done. Cliché. Laaaaame. Oooh, right through the neck. Wait, is that supposed to be scary?” And mostly you don’t give a damn about anyone. I did love the accents (mixed cast of Englishmen and Scotsmen) and I have to admit, I did cry twice. But it hardly made up for a lackluster supernatural war film.

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