Hitler is dead, and WWII has finally ended. A female Russian intelligence officer named Brana (Charlotte Vega), and her squad are tasked with the duty of bringing a casket containing Hitler’s body back from Poland to Russia per their leader Stalin’s direct orders. This mission is very covert, and Brana and her squad need to take the utmost care of Hitler’s body as they make their way to Moscow. The job is so secret in fact, that every time their squad needs to rest for the night, they are mandated to bury the body to keep it hidden from enemies. A radical group of German soldiers, ‘werewolves’, decide that they aren't ready for war to end, and want to ambush this Russian squad and retrieve their leader. Brana’s comrades are exhausted and not all of them have the best intentions, so not only will Brana have to navigate her way through her own team, but she will also need to fend off those so-called ‘werewolves’.
Admittedly, my interest was piqued by the premise and ‘what-if’ history of this film, but the staying power of the film wasn’t enough to keep me fully invested. What if there really was a Russian squad who was tasked with the important mission to deliver Hitler’s body? The idea of taking a significant historical event and manipulating to tell a small compelling story easily sunk its claws into me at first. A job such as theirs could have never been easy, especially knowing they would always be in danger due to the very nature of navigating out of a warzone. The German soldiers were not without interesting tactics either. The ‘werewolves’ used a special concoction infused with lichen and mushrooms to cause hallucination effects to instill fear within the team.
The premise was interesting, and I was entertained for the short runtime, but it did have story elements that felt disjointed. The film opens in 1991, where an older woman living in London is the victim of a home invasion from a man in a wolf mask. The situation quickly shifts to the woman getting the upper hand, where she captures the man and thus, drugs him, and proceeds to tell him the story of Brana and their important mission from 1945. The film bookends back to 1991, and instead of just being a story focused on Brana's mission; we find out the fate of this woman and her captor. The future segments felt out of place, and they could have easily focused more time on character development within Brana’s band of soldiers. The film worked best when it was narrowed in on the mission in 1945, then on what was going on in 1991, and even the ‘werewolves’ felt underutilized.
Burial is interesting for the most part to say the least, and when the focus is on Brana and her comrades, there was a lot to enjoy. It is always a pleasure to see a woman leader, especially in WWII when it wasn’t commonplace for America. Her squad of comrades were a joy to watch, even if a lot of them weren’t fully fleshed out, and we even get to see Harry Potter’s own Tom Felton join the group by the end. If you enjoy a good ‘what-if’ story, or just love WWII stories, then I can recommend this film easily, but if you don’t really have any interest in WWII or alternative histories, then you may want to skip this one.
Reviewed By: Dimitreus Newell