Horror Review: Army of the Damned (2014)

Army of the Damned

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The filming of a hit reality TV show goes horribly wrong when a group of small town cops respond to a call that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, domestic disturbance.

Director: Tom DeNucci
Writer: Tom DeNucci
Stars: Sully Erna, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, Jackie Moore, Joey Fatone, Tommy Dreamer, Thea Trinidad, Nick Principe, Maria Kanellis, Tom Paolino, David Chokachi

This movie scared me as much as it intrigued me. I am a huge Godsmack fan as well as a huge Sully Erna fan. Of couse, I am also a huge horror fan. While I like to hear a metal soundtrack in my horror movies, I also like to see musicians stay away from acting whenever possible. Thankfully, Erna proved me wrong because he was not a weak like in Tom DeNucci’s “Army of the Damned.”

Outside of Erna, the rest of the cast consisted of current and former professional wrestlers and some horror icons including Tony Todd and Michael Berryman. You can never go wrong with those two in a film, although I will admit that both were underutilized in this film.

I will put this out there right from the start. “Army of the Damned” is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. It is a low budget horror film chock full of fun and goodness. I can liken this film to films like the iconic cult classic “Night of the Demons,” but not at the high level of that film. There must be something wrong with me when I am saying that “Night of the Demons” is a high level film. I am just a sucker for it (the original at least).

As far as “Army of the Damned” goes, it is a decent sophomoric effort from director Tom DeNucci after his debut, “Self Storage.” Its mix of horror and action make for a nice watch. I actually watched it a few times and it was pretty good each time. This is not a film that you watch once and never want to watch again. It is a film that you can enjoy with some friends just to have a good time. It is not without it flaws, but the flaws are things that you can accept – the mostly-single location, the ultra-low budget, the use of actors that have no business acting, etc.

The pros of “Army of the Damned” far outweigh the negatives. When you include horror icons like Tony Todd and Michael Berryman, they are always a nice addition to a film. If used more, they could have been even better.

Another positive aspect of the film is the 80’s horror vibe given off throughout the film, which DeNucci captured very well. Given its solitary location, he also made good use of it without having that singular location feel to it. Another nod should go out to the director because of what he did with this cast of characters including professional wrestlers (Tommy Dreamer, Thea Trinidad, Maria Kanellis, et al), a rock star (Sully Erna), a former pop star (Joey Fatone) and an adult star.

Ben Bornstein’s practical effects are also well done throughout the film, which is something that more horror films should think about getting back to.

Overall, “Army of the Damned” is a film that I can get behind. With the amount of horror films that I watch, it does not take much to excite me because the quality of the majority of what I watch it very low. Films like this need to be championed in the horror community so that directors come up with more films like this. While not entirely original, it is an original movie with an original story. Support horror my friends and support “Army of the Damned.”