It’s the last months of WWII and Germany is in shambles as the allied forces are closing in on the country. The Nazi party is desperate and willing to do anything to turn the tide of the war. German soldiers are ransacking the entire country and after a few alterations with the locals that end in tragedy, a group of German resistance fighters is born. They begin to track a group of Nazi soldiers lead by General Wolff. General Wolff, however, has been busy with much more than looting German homes and killing Jews. The resistance soon discover General Wolff has attempted to raise the dead by opening the gates of Valhalla.
Directed by Daniel Konze, The Rise of Valhalla is a feature-length horror/war drama. Due to the subject and genre that it encapsulates, The Rise of Valhalla isn’t exactly a comfortable film to view. It, however, is definitely a well executed one. In terms of cinematography and setting the mood, The Rise of Valhalla is a masterclass. Careful attention is shown to the location, costuming, and sound design. It feels as though you are actually experiencing the horrors of war. The resistance fighters form a fantastic ensemble. Hermann (Thomas Binder), Wilhelm (Mario Kaspras), Ludwig (Fabio Sorgini), Paul (Marc Bluhm), Leopold (Armin Barwich) and Gustav (Javier Wolf) all do excellent jobs in the tough setting given and the challenging emotions they portray. Without any spoilers, the last act of the film has some top-notch practical gore effects that are stunning to behold.
Some criticisms I have with The Rise of Valhalla have to do with issues in the pacing of the film and its script. There are many scenes in the middle part of the film where we are traveling with the resistance. It’s during these scenes were the film slows down to an uncomfortably slow pace. To help reduce this slower pace, more dialogue for the characters could have helped. The resistance don’t seem to connect much during their journey, and it’s during these slow moments that more bonding could have occurred.
The Rise of Valhalla tells a great alternate history tale that mixes in moments of suspense and horror. At times the pacing felt slow, and with more dialogue the resistance could have developed more emotional bonds. Despite this the cinematography, costuming and sound design work together nicely bringing a convincing portrait of WWII. The finale is a riveting and harrowing portrayal of all out madness.
I give The Rise of Valhalla 4 out of 6 Reels.