DIrected by Leo Scherman (White Knuckles), Trench 11 is a claustrophobic Canadian zombie horror set during WWI. Now, historically-set horror is nothing new, but Trench 11 strikes a kitsch-free balance of tension and drama with enough horror to satisfy.
The film follows a small team of British and American soldiers as they seek to investigate a secret underground facility that has been used by the Germans to – supposedly – experiment with the creation of a new and horrible bio-weapon. They are joined by Canadian tunneler, Berton (Rossif Sutherland, son of legendary Canadian actor Donald Sutherland), whose harrowing experiences have primed him for survival.
And survive he must. Once the team of six are fully entombed in the labyrinth of tunnels they are confronted with the shocking remains of the experiments. The virus targets and enhances aggression in the infected, causing them to frantically and violently attack the band of brothers. Pressures mount as the squad fight for survival while still trying to carry out their vital mission.
I’m always incredibly fond of practical effects (they win every time). Trench 11 works a simple concept with effective results. The practical effects here are visceral and – paired with the skills of a great foley arist – they squirm under your skin. You might feel the need to skip your next spaghetti dinner.
The film shows a subtle dichotomy between the potential risk of being openly exposed in enemy territory and the subjective safety of being behind closed doors. Even when the soldiers feel secure in their position, they are in constant peril.
Using an underground setting with enemies on all sides, Trench 11 heightens the threat of a violently dangerous infection. With minimal lighting and a drab, bare-bones set, the tensely claustrophobic film is pumped full of an inescapable dread.