Dull and Listless, The Bunker Game (2022) Hits Many Lows In Its Underground Supernatural Horror
Title: The Bunker Game
First Non-Festival Release: February 24, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Roberto Zazzara
Writer: Manuela Cacciamani, Francesca Forristal, Davide Orsini
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Starring: Gaia Weiss, Lorenzo Richelmy, Mark Ryder
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Amidst a live action role playing game, or LARP game, a terrifying accident causes the group of patrons to end their campaign early. A small group of staff members stay behind to clean up and head out the next day. When one of their own goes missing, they make it their mission to find him. Only then do they discover they have been locked into the Nazi Germany military bunker they have been using and must work together to find him and get out fast. They begin to ask themselves is their coworker playing a bad joke on them or are there ghosts haunting the bunker from beyond the grave.
Another tepid Nazisploitation film, The Bunker Game delivers below average supernatural horror.
A miserably slow and moody murder mystery, The Bunker Game makes confounding decision after confounding decision when cobbling together one of the dullest supernatural horror films of the year despite decent production values. Strung together by the oddest narrative choices and plot structure, The Bunker Game kicks off with its game without telling its audience. This is arguably the most interesting aspect of the game: its bizarre Nazi roleplaying setup. Immersed in a world of underground dystopia, while certainly confusing and a bit tasteless, The Bunker Game get far less interesting once the violence begins. Over 90% of the people leave the bunker and the audience is stuck with the most annoying leftover characters.
We are treated to paper thin characters who have very little depth or complexity. Sure, a few brief moments in the film will give insight into them, like tattoos or scars, but as soon as a character has any hope of being interesting, they are killed off in the most uninspired of manners. Main character Laura has as much depth as a kiddie pool, and she is leading the charge in terms of the hapless crew. Her main struggle is carrying the pregnancy of Greg, while she has a thing with Harry. It’s all so melodramatic and weirdly tacked on in the script. Furthermore, this pregnancy ends up being vital to the mystery in the most ham-fisted ways.
Cringeworthy acting pushes the film to lower lows. Not a single character is believable, not a shred of dialogue feels genuine, and no two characters have chemistry together. They read like they have just met for the first time a few hours beforehand instead of coworkers who have history and rapport. It’s disheartening how so many factors failed the film with its admittedly intriguing concept.
Despite the clear lack of direction in storytelling and acting, The Bunker Game thrives in its design. The set is expansive, interesting, and has a character of its own. Atmospheric and holding some vague historic significance, it creates a nice moody feel to film that would otherwise be lacking considering the script. The cinematography and sound departments do plenty of heavy lifting to give the film an energetic and put-together vibe. It’s well filmed for an indie venture. It’s too bad that the writing cannot compete with it. There are a few laughable moments of ghost cgi, but thankfully they are used sparingly.
Hideously boring and bereft of scares, The Bunker Game fumbles an easy setup with the laziest of cliches and tropes. Its technical filmmaking merits aside, The Bunker Game offers bland mystery for those not expecting too much from their entertainment. Throw in some bizarre plot inconsistencies and weak characters and you have the year’s biggest missed opportunities. Military bunkers have so many avenues to explore, and The Bunker Game chooses to follow the same script we have seen time and again. Additionally, and this is absolutely a purely personal opinion, the film might have been improved had they picked most any other group to LARP as other than Nazis. This would make it more compelling due to the endless possibilities while giving the characters a better chance to resonate with viewers. I won’t tell you to Nazi this movie, but I am not going to give it any endorsement.
Overall Score? 3.5/10