ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph Perry writes for the film websites Gruesome Magazine, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel and Diabolique Magazine; for the film magazines Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope and Drive-In Asylum; and for the pop culture websites When It Was Cool and Uphill Both Ways. He is also one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast and can occasionally be heard as a cohost on Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast.
A war film implementing genre movie elements, writer/director Ben Parker’s U.K. feature Burial involves a small crew of Russian soldiers secretly bringing Hitler’s body to Stalin. German soldiers bent on obtaining the body for themselves in an effort to continue the Nazi line by proclaiming that the body is a fake and Hitler is still alive await the Russians in Polish woods, with the locals trapped between the two forces. The Nazis hiding in the forest — called werewolves to induce terror — use psychotropic drugs and fear-inducing costumes to make the Russians believe they are being attacked by werewolves and other occult entities.
The film kicks off with elderly exile Brana Vasilyeva (Harriet Walter) turning the tables on a home invasion by a neo-Nazi (David Alexander) bent on learning the truth about Hitler having not really committed suicide. She handcuffs and drugs him, at which point Burial goes to an extended flashback about young Brana (Charlotte Vega of Wrong Turn (2021) and The Lodgers (2017) and her comrades attempting to bring Hitler’s body, which they must bury every night to keep it hidden from Nazis, to Stalin. Walter and Vega both give outstanding performances in their roles, and the supporting cast members are all quite good, though several of the latter are given trope-heavy characters with which to deal, from the no-goodnik commanding officer to the valiant comrade who seems unkillable to the “Kill them all!” Nazi commander.
Parker (The Chamber, 2019) does a fine job at the helm, delivering a good deal of suspense and peppering the proceedings with some mystery and gore. Viewers expecting actual lycanthropes will likely be disappointed, but those in the mood for a captivating war thriller with admirable production values should find plenty to enjoy in Burial.
Burial, from IFC Midnight, is available in select theaters and On Demand from September 2, 2022.