Trench 11 is a new Canadian sci-fi horror film from the creative minds of director Leo Scherman and producer Tyler Levine. A rag-tag group of British and American soldiers led by a Canadian demolitions specialist must descend into a German lab underneath the trenches of the Argonne Forest during WWI to confirm rumours of bio-warfare experiments that have horrific implications. Clocking in at 90-minutes, the film sports a great cast of Canadian talents such as Karine Vanasse, Ted Atherton, and Rossif Sutherland while also showing off international talent from actors like Charlie Carrick and Robert Stadlober.
The film starts with a scene of Trench 11’s main protagonist Berton (Sutherland) stuck in a tunnel during what sounds like a cannonade hammering down above. The audience is introduced to Berton’s past experience as a “tunneller” in the war and it is this experience that will wind up being crucial toward the end of the film. The focus then shifts to commanding officer Jennings (Atherton) who is in the process of assembling his recon squad for the trench mission. Berton, drunk and enjoying some good ol’ R&R with newfound love Veronique (Vanasse) is reluctant to join the mission when he receives the call of duty but inevitably answers the call.
Meanwhile, German forces are being organized and sent into the trench complex to destroy evidence of the ethical crimes they have committed during their bio-warfare experiments. The maniacal German doctor Reiner (Stadlober) has other plans for the test subjects who remain below the trenches, as he wishes to save samples for further research and development. Reiner worked hard on his new evil worm parasite, and he is determined to hang onto his accomplishment.
Deranged test subjects descend upon the good guys underground and then a gory fight to escape ensues for the remainder of the film. Trench 11 does a good job of pulling off a successful sci-fi horror experience. Scherman’s past experience training under the likes of David Cronenberg is illustrated when we see gallons of parasitic nightmare worms pouring out of poor Fritz’s face after a shotgun blast to the head. Tyler Levine’s experience with comical dark movies like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is also apparent through the interactions between characters. The movie could benefit from a tad more comic relief during character interactions, as the ride does drag slightly towards the end before the big finale.
Overall, Trench 11 offers delightful bloody escapism in the form of alternate WWI history. I give it four out of five incoherent, babbling German scientists.