Leo Scherman (director)
06 May 2019 (released)
05 May 2019
The opening of Death Trench with the tunnellers working under German lines in WW 1 briefly brought to mind Sebastian Foulks’s bestseller Birdsong. With the miners working in silence under enemy lines with the view of laying explosives to destroy their fortifications. There’s the ever-present danger of discovery and cave ins. However it’s a flighty superficial comparison as this film soon takes off on a deranged direction all of its own.
Ace Canadian tunneller Lieutenant Berton (Rossif Sutherland) is trapped by a cave in for 12 days and so is put forward as the ideal man to lead a mission back behind enemy lines, much to his annoyance. The situation is that the top brass has discovered a massive complex of tunnels they believe are being used for nefarious purposes. On the other side the Germans are looking to send in a force of men to destroy what is in there, knowing they can’t cope with or let it escape.
That fundamentally is it. Throw in a mixture of American troops as escorts, duplicitous generals, a deranged German scientist plus close quarter battles and violence and you have a collection of clichés that should evaporate any interest in the story fairly early on into the film.
Yet despite the familiarity of it all, it is fairly fleet footed keeping the action going with the requisite blood and gore. The acting is perfunctory with all the ham going to Robert Stadlober’s mad German scientist positively revelling in the part.
The budget is obviously very small but as the film is basically confined to tunnels and rooms that’s not a big issue.
Director Leo Scherman does a good job with what he has and does build up some good tension in amongst the madness and carnage.
In fact there aren’t any really big issues with Death Trench it is a perfectly enjoyable 90 odd minutes of war horror.