I like to search for obscure horror movies. Admittedly, I’m obsessed with anything from the 50s to 80s, but I’m equal opportunity. Occasionally, a more modern one comes out that’s not too bad. The movie “Deathwatch” is one of those films. It’s also one you might have passed by in the video store and didn’t stop to check it out.
I'm encouraging you -- stop and check it out.
Made in 2002, “Deathwatch” is set in 1917 WWI. Hey, I’m not a war movie type at all. In fact, if it’s a war movie, I won’t watch it, but somehow I stumbled onto this one and after a few minutes, I was hooked.
Imagine a fog-shrouded field and British soldiers moving in on the Germans. The Brit’s find a German trench and take it over for shelter. In the mists they find out they aren’t fighting the Germans anymore. They’re fighting something unseen. The trench is possessed with evil and they begin to turn on each other and freakish things happen to the men.
The film was beautifully made and I’m crazy about anything with lots of atmosphere. The fog and the bluish lighting and the colorless setting were as bleak as the war. The characters are well defined, well cast, and well acted, and create a great mutiny amongst themselves when they discover it’s just as unsafe past the trench hideout as it is in the trench hideout. Trapped, they come to horrible fates with their greatest fears.
If I recommend a movie, it’s a real honor because I usually watch horror movies for one of a few reasons:
1. I want atmosphere. I just pop in a movie to give me a creepy feeling in the background while I’m editing my novel or doing some other project. For a time, I feel as if I’m in a cold wet forest at night or being stalked by a vampire in Romania.
2. I want to be creeped out. I want to pull the covers up and get so immersed that I don’t multitask. I actually sit through the entire movie. For me to sit through an entire horror movie is a good testament to its quality because I become frustrated easily if the first 15 minutes don’t have me.
3. I’m seeking a scary movie from childhood that creeped me out and for a time I just want that feeling of authentic horror again for nostalgia.
I can say that this movie was definitely #2. If I put this movie in, I know I’m sitting through the whole thing and not doing some other task while I watch it. That’s a high recommendation from a chronic multitasker.
If you want a super creepy atmosphere, great characters, intense suspense, and a feeling like you were actually in the trenches in WWI, this is a really good movie. They did a very good job of capturing a time and a period and a creepy purgatory that's haunting.
p.s. When I like one film, I rush to find others with the same feel. I'll take the guess work out of it for you. If you liked this film, you'll almost surely like "Ravenous," a 1999 film that was of equal quality and feel. The two films remind me of each other a lot. This one takes place in America back in the time of Indian Forts and has to do with a ravenous windigo creature amongst the men who wants to devour flesh.