The Bunker (2001) Movie Review
Written By: YN
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Rob Green
Producers: Daniel Figuero
Writers: Clive Dawson
Date Released: September 14, 2001
Jason Flemyng as Corporal(Cpl.) Michael Baumann
Andrew Tiernan as Corporal(Cpl.) Ernst Schenke
Christopher Fairbank as Sergeant(Sgt.) Adolf Heydrich
Simon Kunz as Lieutenant(Lt.) Wilhelm Krupp
Andrew-Lee Potts as Private(Pvt.) Bruno Neumann
John Carlisle as Private(Pvt.) Conrad Mirus
Eddie Marsan as Private First Class(Pfc.) Wolfgang Kreuzmann
Jack Davenport as Corporal(Cpl.) Daryl Ebert
Charley Boorman as Private First Class(Pfc.) Gustav Franke
Nicholas Hamnett as Private(Pvt.) Hugo Engels
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Set in 1944, a group of German soldiers are forced to retreat into a bunker after getting ambushed by the US army. The place is manned by two other soldiers who mentioned that the only way to get out of there is through the tunnels. However, Conrad Mirus, the one guarding the bunker, warns them against using it, claiming that there are ghosts roaming its walls. That night, they wake up to find Mirus and one of their men missing. Realizing that the two must be in the tunnels, the rest of them go down to investigate. They soon start to believe that Mirus is right, and something unknown lurks down there.
There is very little gore in The Bunker (2001). In fact, it is almost nonexistent. While it is full of gunfire and bombs, there is no over-the-top, graphic scenes or anything that will make you feel queasy. The bloodiest it gets is when the movie shows a flashback of a mass execution towards the end. And even then, the deaths are quick and clean, without any spray of blood flying in the air.
The Grave Review
Its World War II setting; the ominous, yawning mouth of the tunnel; the dark abyss that stares back at you from the screen; the group of traumatized soldiers all coped up in a small bunker; the tension rising between them–The Bunker (2001) opens up as an interesting watch. Unfortunately, it falls flat in scaring its viewers as the plot moves forward. The supposed ghosts aren’t doing much haunting in the film, and the “real antagonist” becomes a bit of a joke towards the end. Once you finish watching it, you might find yourself asking whether The Bunker (2001) is a horror movie or not.
The beginning of the film quotes Friedrich Nietzsche saying, “If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” This foreboding line is followed by a scene of a lone man walking through the winding paths of the tunnel with a loud, dull incessant thud at the background. He passed by a warning sign that says, “Achtung! Lebensgefahr”, which means “Attention! Danger” until he reaches a couple of soldiers boarding up the mouth of a tunnel. The lights flicker ominously. Low groans come from the dark tunnels. And suddenly, everyone is plunged into darkness. Panic settles in and everyone leaves. It’s now just you and whatever lurks beyond that abyss, and the camera pans slowly towards it.
Such opening can reel you in. And true enough, the cinematography is able live up to that suspenseful atmosphere throughout the movie. It captures the winding passages of the tunnels where every twist and turn tickle your paranoia. The gloomy lighting casts shadows on the walls. The empty echoes of footsteps and dripping water are loud and foreboding. And there is the foggy horizon that conceals unknown enemies ahead. The movie tries its best to set up a good scare, and it almost does.
However, the tunnels and the soldiers’ paranoia alone couldn’t hold on to that suspense for so long. As the movie progresses, it never shows signs of ghosts or, at the very least, hints of a supernatural presence. All it ever does is talk about the dead, and when something remotely spooky happens, the film is quick to reassure the audience that it’s just the other soldiers waiting for them at the opposite end. It is because of this that it loses the thrill that horror movies usually have.
Towards the end, you have just watched a handful of soldiers kill each other out of fright of their own shadows and their own guilt, while you are left underwhelmed with the whole mess. Even when the dead finally appears in the screen, they are too late to actually do their job of terrifying you because the momentum of the tension and suspense have long been gone. Likewise, the scene where the antagonist is burned alive only to come back looking like Freddie Krueger ruins the atmosphere. It’ll only bother you just how fast that burned man recovered from getting torched alive. Before you know it, the movie’s done, and you’re still bothered by that one thought.
With these foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Bunker (2001) two graves out of five graves.
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