CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS
And still they come: yet another cheap found footage horror movie. It's hardly surprising that yet another movie centred on the foolhardy misadventures of a clueless documentary film crew proves no better than the last dozen camcorder atrocities. What is frustrating about this particular example is that there are a couple of moments when it's obvious it could have been so much better if they'd actually made it as a proper film rather than opting for the same tiresome schtick that doesn't work and doesn't make sense.
To be honest I spent the early section of the film thinking it was a spoof: a documentary crew pitch up in France to make a centenary TV programme about The Somme. They claim to have won a BAFTA for a show about alien spacecraft over Hadrian's Wall (when it's painfully obvious they couldn't even get nominated for doing the washing up), and they're led by a serious historian constantly being urged to emphasise the more ghoulish elements of The Somme at the expense of historical fact. That would actually the basis for a decent little comedy about the shallow state of factual TV in 2015 which honestly would have been a lot more interesting. Instead we get the crew fleeing an unexplained attack by undead soldiers, before discovering a corpse with a mysterious occult amulet inside it....
There's scarcely any point in whining on again about the by now entirely redundant format; the bag of tricks was empty about three days after The Blair Witch Project came out but that hasn't stopped hundreds of people trying desperately to emulate the faux-verite style, surely more on the grounds of cheapness than any sincere belief that it makes the films any more effective or interesting. It clearly isn't going to run out of steam any time soon, and I'm now starting to feel like those critics a generation ago constantly complaining about yet another cheap teen slasher movie every couple of weeks. More damaging than any of that is a sense of grotesque bad taste in using the bloody slaughter of the Somme, a battle in which a million men died violent and arguably pointless deaths, as a basis for a cheap zombie entertainment which doesn't even make any sense - the zombs are seen shambling around before our heroes dig up the occult amulet.
But what's particularly frustrating is that while World War Dead: Rise Of The Fallen mostly plays everything by the found footage rule book (incredibly annoying bickering, night vision, running in terror with the camera still on, yada yada yada), there are two scenes which do make you wish this was a proper film. One scene when the survivors hole up in a supply room, and a desperate (but inevitably badly framed) escape bid illuminated by a distress flare, these moments are strikingly lit and boast the kind of bright colour you don't expect in first-person videos. But two decent visual touches don't make up for the dullness; you've seen it all before and there's nothing new on offer.