Burial is a 2022 English World War two thriller, written and directed by Ben Parker. Making his debut in 2011 with the action horror short Shifter, Ben produced his first feature-length film with the 2016 horror thriller The Chamber – with Burial being his third outing as writer/director.
Set in the last days of World War II, this tall tale tells the story of a small band of Russian soldiers, led by intelligence officer Brana Vasilyeva, tasked with trafficking the discovered remains of Adolf Hitler back to Stalin in Moscow. En route, the unit is attacked by German ‘Wehrwolf’ partisans and picked off one by one. Brana leads her surviving comrades in a last stand to ensure their ‘cargo’ doesn’t fall into the hands of those who would see it buried, in order to hide the truth forever.
Beginning as a foiled break-in to an elderly Jewish woman’s house by a Neo-nazi, this framing device soon casts its mind’s eye back to Berlin, 1945 during the final days of the second world war. The story doesn’t waste any time past this initial story foundation to get into the thick of its intended progression with our group of rag-tag protagonists already in possession of the crate they are charged with escorting back to Stalin’s Russia. Even though Burial earnestly enforces an air of mystery around the box’s contents, its shocking reveal is faltered by divulging this information in the trailer and synopsis – robbing the film of a possible staggering unveiling of the truth. That notwithstanding, the final exposure of the festering Führer is still moderately satisfying in its display.
Despite this slight setback, Burial is an impeccably detailed representation of a war film. Presenting itself in dulcet tones of muddy browns, pale greens, and ashy greys; the film follows the color correction ascertained in some of the best-known war titles such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), capturing the bleak veil that was suffocating Europe at the time – compared to some newer releases like Overlord (2018) or that have a staggeringly modern feel. Additionally, the continuity to the period is preserved with due diligence, with weapons, vehicles, and uniforms all fitting Russian constrictions as well as the band of German Wehrwolfs, a detachment of elite German forces similar to English Comando’s who would operate behind enemy lines. This is also brilliantly explored in the group becoming ill-equipped towards the last remaining days of the war, having a mix of German and Russian weapons as they scavenge anything they could get off dead troops to keep the fight going.
Furthermore, Burial implements a phenomenal level of cinematography along with its visual representation by utilizing outstanding establishing shots of the beautiful Estonian countryside where the majority of the film was produced. This is further complimented by innovative use of natural lighting, as well as some intricate tracking shots that produces a visually delectable experience from start to finish. This all proves to be of great strength to the aesthetic before even approaching the wonderful, yet few, small-scale firefights that relate a realism in the intensive battles for survival.
A spectacular piece of second world war cinema, Burial undoubtedly stands its ground in comparison to some of the most highly-regarded war films of the 20th & 21st century. With an incredibly interesting exploration of one of the remaining secrets of the war, an incredible performance from the entire cast, as well as a stunning level of cinematography throughout; Burial is an intrepidly gripping piece of cinema (despite the early revelation of its twist). The film is sure to hit all the right spots with war film buffs/history fanatics as well as fans of genre cinema.
We watched Burial (2022) at FrightFest
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Hey there, I’m Jim and I’m located in London, UK. I am a Writer and Managing Director here at Grimoire of Horror. A lifelong love of horror and writing has led me down this rabbit hole, allowing me to meet many amazing people and experience some truly original artwork. I specialise in world cinema, manga/graphic novels, and video games but will sometime traverse into the unknown in search of adventure.