I don’t like war movies. I don’t like period pieces. I especially don’t like period pieces about war. But Trench 11 is different. Set during the last days of WWI, this film is full of slimy worms, biological weapons, and one of the best exploding head scenes I’ve ever seen… and I’ve seen a lot. It’s evident from the blood, gore and contagious parasites in this flick that writer and director Leo Scherman (read our interview with him here) trained under the pioneer of body horror himself, David Cronenberg. It’s so crystal clear that it has left me wanting more from Scherman.
Trench 11 follows a group of U.S., British, and Canadian soldiers as they infiltrate an underground German bunker. Following a tunneller (Rossif Sutherland: Reign TV series), the group descends into a hidden German base, 100 feet below the trenches. Although they are going down there to stop whatever it is that has been going on so far below civilization, they are unaware they are about to meet their worst nightmares. What they find underneath is a human experiment gone wrong. In an attempt to manufacture biological weapons, there was instead a deadly, contagious parasite introduced. Convinced that there is help on the way, most of the group stays just below the surface, waiting to see their fates. But the tunneller believes otherwise, and sets off to find an escape.
Trench 11 was written by Matt Booi and Leo Scherman, and directed by Scherman. The all-male cast is led by Sutherland, with help from fellow Reign alumni, Charlie Carrick and Ted Atherton, as well as John B. Lowe (The Haunting in Connecticut 2009), and the one female exception, Karine Vanasse (Revenge TV series) as Veronique. Having been shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the cinematography by Dylan Macleod is beautiful, and makes a perfect substitution for war-torn Europe.
What really stood out to me was the original score by Ice Road Truckers composers Mark Domitric, Kevin Krouglow, Ryan McLarnon, and Tom Westin. I like a soundtrack that will keep me engaged and not drag, and that’s exactly what the score in Trench 11 had to offer. Paired with the stunning practical effects coordinated by Jason Wilkins (Cult of Chucky 2017) and Tim Freestone (Curse of Chucky 2013), this film trashed every pre-misconception I have had about war movies. Not that I’m saying I’m going to add them to my current watch list, but I’m very glad that I gave this one a chance. With a parasite reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing, there’s plenty of blood, guts and gore to go around. You’ll just have to watch it to see if they make it out of there alive.