5 Lesser-Known War Horror Movies

The horrors of war are obvious to the casual observer, but through the imaginative eye of some creatives, new nightmares can emerge from an already terrible situation. The setting is one of the most important parts of a story and putting a horror story in an already terrifying situation is bold.

War films are generally defined as dramatic action films that follow the experience of participants or victims of a conflict. While much of these take place in real world conflicts, just as many take place in fictional battles, events, and settings. From the depths of space to the dark side of world history, the horrors of war make for very interesting films.

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suzerain

The 2018 Nazi zombie horror flick took a ton of old-school B-movie and schlock notes and patched them up with immense style. Directed by Julius Avery and written by Captain Phillips scribe Billy Ray and The ghost writer Mark L. Smith, Suzerain barely made money at the box office. The plot concerns a detachment of American paratroopers, dropped in Normandy before D-Day to weaken the German entrenchment before the landing.

American soldiers soon discover that the Nazis, through their horrific experiments, have developed something akin to undead super soldiers. What follows is a visceral, yet action-packed thrill ride that perfectly sells the aspect of war and supernatural horror. It’s a bare bones affair, but the acting, effects, action, and gallows humor all hit with sniper efficiency. Fans of the ’80s B-movie craze have finally found a good movie made by people who loved them as much as they do.


the wickedness of crows

Made on a shoestring budget, Scottish indie darling Lawrie Brewster’s third film is a harrowing dive into the aftershock of the war on the human mind. Although this film is not set in wartime, it is a depiction of PTSD that takes the viewer through the main character’s combat tour. Jamie Scott Gordon stars as a man so horrified by his time in the military that his hallucinations begin to dominate his reality. Supernatural events overtake him, and the film takes some bizarre paths as the lead falls apart.

The film is a masterful exploration of a subject of overwhelming reality, suspended almost entirely on an excellent performance by Gordon. For obvious reasons, far fewer people have seen this film than it deserves. Look for it, and the rest of Brewster’s work. It’s an incredible race that has to be seen to be believed.


the-bunker-2001

Released in 2001, Rob Green’s supernatural war horror film is a terrifying bottle flick that takes place overwhelmingly in a tiny underground tunnel. The cast is made up almost entirely of veteran English character actors who have smaller roles in larger projects, but all shine here. The film concerns a group of Nazi soldiers who find themselves trapped and forced to retreat to the eponymous bunker. The men argue, become paranoid, search desperately for their enemies, and slowly discover that something more menacing than the US military lies in wait.

The double horror of the possible encroachment of enemy soldiers and the growing supernatural presence is overwhelming. The vibe of the movie is suffocating, and the performances totally sell it. This film was also made on a shoestring budget, but with careful direction, clever writing, and precise instincts, it keeps its audience utterly captivated.


Dog Soldiers 2002

This film launched the career of Neil Marshall, who went on to direct some great episodes of game of thrones, Lowering, and the underrated judgment Day. His second feature is a fast-paced action movie that turns a military thriller into a werewolf flick. A squad of English soldiers embark on what should be a simple operation, only to find themselves pursued and cut down by immensely powerful lycanthropes. The action is worthy of a video game, the heroes are simple characters, but watching their classic military combat go head-to-head with clever monsters is still entertaining.


The situation goes from bad to worse in rapid succession. There’s always another turn around the corner, and the reveal of who characters are or aren’t werewolves never fails to be engaging. dog soldiers was supposed to have a sequel, Rob Green of the bunker was even approached to direct, but the production didn’t work out. The movie on its own is a great piece of action-horror.


Jacob's Ladder

This movie better come in with as little information as possible, those who haven’t seen Adrian Lyne’s 1990 psychological masterpiece should get access to it immediately. Dazzling, unnerving, powerfully atmospheric, Jacob’s Ladder is one of the most powerful horror films of all time.

The story concerns a Vietnam veteran, who returns from the war, only to be plagued by hallucinations that cause him to question his reality. The film provides much of the classic’s DNA silent Hill franchisee, among others. Jacob’s ladder is good in a way that sticks to its audience. Those who view it with fresh eyes will not soon forget this intricate masterpiece.

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