Toronto After Dark 2017: Trench 11 – Leo Scherman

Zombie Night at the Toronto After Dark film festival continues at the Scotiabank Theatre with the Toronto Premiere of the Canadian biological horror film, Trench 11.

Without putting too fine a point on it, this has been my favourite film of the festival so far. It’s not overly zombie-filled, but the story is captivating, it’s brilliantly made, and features a strong cast. On top of that, it’s a Canadian film – this are all wins for me.

Rossif Sutherland, Charlie Carrick, Shaun Benson and Robert Stadlober lead the cast that follows a British/American/Canadian team sneaking behind German lines as the Great War draws to in 1918.

It seems a German scientist, referred to as the Prophet (Stadlober) has helped created a biological infection, developed from heartworms that can infect animals, and enabled it to jump species. Into man. The worms infect everything, scarring the temporal lobe, doing away with concepts of right and wrong, and increasing one’s tendency towards violence.

The unit is determined to bring down the tunnel complex that houses the experiments, and the samples, preventing it from escaping and shifting the balance of the ending war.

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Sutherland plays the Canadian tunneller, Berton, who has a personal investment in surviving, as he is once again plunged into the depths of the earth. In fact all of the characters seem to have well thought out motivations, on both sides of the conflict, and one can’t help but be taken in by the story.

The violence, and the encounters with the infected are few and far between, but the authenticity of the sets, costume design, and the performance of the actors, not to mention a very well-crafted story (by Scherman and Matt Booi) make this film a fascinating watch.

With a 90 minute runtime, I could have asked for a slightly longer film, but what we are offered is a slick, beautifully shot, period piece that evocatively brings events around World War I to life.

Yes, the story is fiction, but it seems to be more grounded in reality than some other historically set zombie films (as much as I love Dead Snow – it’s a laugh). There is a hint of science at work behind the scenes, a believable leaping of species, and the effects for the worms are fantastic.

This is the definitely one to watch out for, and if you have the chance to see it tonight at the Festival, screening at Scotiabank Theatre, take that opportunity. You won’t be disappointed.

Trench 11 premieres tonight – what will you be watching After Dark?

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