dir. Ben Parker
London, 1992. A woman (Harriet Walter) spends Christmas watching a news report about the Soviet Union’s dissolution, only for the quiet night to change when a wolf-masked figure breaks into the house. The tables are quickly turned however, and the intruder reveals his arrival is linked to the woman’s past as a Russian intelligence officer named Brana Vasilyeva.
Flashback to the last days of World War II and Brana (Charlotte Vega) is leading a small group of Russian soldiers who are transporting Hitler’s discovered remains back to Stalin. Every night they bury the coffin so that it stays hidden, regardless of the soldier’s fate, but whilst the box’s contents are revealed early on the WWII sections bizarrely preserve the mystery, as though what’s inside remains a secret.
Hunting the group are Nazis who call themselves “werewolves”, lurking in the forest to watch their prey. Whilst these fascist remnants are a danger to all nearby, the locals are more on-edge about apparent allies: scars remain fresh and they worry that those who force out the oppressors will take their place. It matters not who doles out the cruelty, humanity remains the true monster.
Writer/director Parker dials up the tension in this nail-biting historical-horror that’s unafraid to turn grisly, whilst also showcasing a tremendous cast. The dual performances of Vega and Walter shine brightest, effectively capturing how this determined officer has changed into a weary survivor. Barry Ward is equally memorably as Tor, an officer resigned to being the monster others paint him as, while Tom Felton is mesmerising as Lukasz, a Polish man haunted by his past. Together the ensemble are excellent, exploring the evil that men do and the legacies that mythologise mere mortals.
© James Rodrigues