I don’t know why, but this movie really makes me hungry for some vermicelli. I wonder why that is…
It’s the closing days of World War I. The Germans have mostly pulled out of the Argonne Forest as American and French forces wage the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. With the hasty German withdrawal, British intelligence discovers an underground facility that is suspiciously large. Two British intel officers are sent along with three cocaine-addicted American soldiers and a Canadian tunneler to infiltrate and investigate the facility. Unfortunately, the facility is not as abandoned as they are led to believe, and they soon find themselves up against a new kind of weaponized parasite as well as a rival force of German soldiers led by two men, one an honorable and proud officer, the other a proto-Nazi scientist.
If you’re thinking there are some stereotypes here, yeah, they pretty much are at a base level, though some of the characters do get explored in greater depth. For example, the leading British officer, Jennings, is a desk jockey running a mission in a last ditch effort to snag a battlefield promotion. The Americans have been in trench combat pretty much since they got to Europe, but the lead one, Cooper, isn’t totally fried, he just knows he’s being jerked around. He’s also using a Model 17 Trench Gun, which means he is more than willing to blast someone apart if it means he survives. And then there’s the main character, Berton, who got trapped underground for two weeks and only wants to drink and spend time with the French woman he’s in love with. As for the honorable German, Müller, he recognizes the war is over and doesn’t necessarily like the other side after some of his own experiences but realizes that the war is basically over and what’s in that underground facility is a far greater threat. Reiner’s pretty much the worst of the bunch; he’d be as much at home in a Nazisploitation flick. Hell, he even whines about the communists and Jews before engaging in a bit of torture.
As for the weaponized parasite, it’s a new form of heart worm, born to infect Allied crops but that managed to jump to humans as a new host. It takes up in the body cavity, grows up into the skull, and eventually takes over the brain. The end result is that it makes you a lot uglier, and it usually makes you want to murder folks any way you can. You’ll get to see a guy bite another guy’s nose off, one dude projectile vomits all over another, there’s some nastiness with a trench club to the knee, so on and so forth. Also, when they die, the worms come crawling out of their nose and mouth, and it looks like a noodle dish has suddenly been sneezed out of a corpse’s face hole. Unfortunately, my one complaint is that there’s not nearly as much of it as I would have liked, but then when is there? Seriously though, next time give me more violent parasite dudes. It’s why I watched the movie, but sadly I mainly got dudes going over explosives and the evil scientist being an evil scientist. Maybe show me some of these parasite folks getting mowed down by German troops with armor and machine guns. That would be cool.
Trench 11 probably isn’t the best in the weird little subset of World War I horror films, though it isn’t exactly an expansive sub-genre of horror, or even a big area of “war horror”. I liked what I got, but it feels like a missed opportunity to do more with killer worm/noodles and maniacal crazy guys trapped in an underground bunker. Also, these guys are seriously bad about holding flashlights; it seems like everyone’s always yelling that the light isn’t in the right place for the first half of the film, and in the second half everything gets much better lit, so the claustrophobic feeling leaves. I could have used just a bit more tension, it just didn’t work out for me.
Seriously though, I want some vermicelli bad now. Can someone go get me a bowl?