The Supernaturals

Sigh…despite my many years of training in horror cinema and countless of previous bad experiences, I still get suckered into watching lousy movies because of their appealing and juicy looking VHS cover artwork! I knew absolutely nothing about “The Supernaturals”, but purely based on that drawing of a toothless skull wearing a civil army soldier’s hat, I simply had to see it! Way to go, Mr. Horror expert… Oh well, at least it isn’t the worst genre movie of the 80’s, that’s for sure. “The Supernaturals” is a mediocre horror outing with a relatively original concept and setting and a handful of memorably worthwhile sequences, but ultimately it lacks the necessary suspense and panache in order to rank among the better achievements of the 80’s decade. As stated already in numerous other reviews and user comments, the film effectively borrows the settings and characters of Walter Hill’s “Southern Comfort” and H.G. Lewis’ “Two Thousand Maniacs”. Unfortunately, however, it features neither the claustrophobic atmosphere of the former and nor the outrageously delicious gore effects of the latter. What remains is a nonetheless interesting movie about a platoon of soldiers out on a training excursion in a Southern forest area and suddenly having to battle against seemingly spontaneously resurrected zombie soldiers from the Civil War. Ironically enough, the supernatural elements in “The Supernaturals” are the only ones that don’t work. The promising flashback at the beginning hinted that a kid soldier saved his mother thanks to a sudden outburst of supernatural powers on this exact same location during the year 1865, and now he – Jeremy – as well as his mother and the long-dead members of the platoon he was part of still guard over the place. The explanation given to the presence of the zombies is unsatisfying and feels incomplete. This would have been less of a problem if there had been more gory murders and/or straightforward suspense to distract you from the plot. Now, there’s little else left to do but wonder about how Jeremy obtained his powers, how exactly does he resurrect the dead and how come he’s still alive after more than a century? The middle section is plain dull and I simply cannot comprehend why Armand Mastroianni decided it would be a good idea to make an 80’s zombie movie with only a minimum of gore.