‘From the bloodied battlefields a new horror is born!’
Fallen Soldiers is a 2014 British horror feature film about a young soldier who tells a tale of plagues, conspiracies and dead men resurrected.
Directed and co-produced by Bill Thomas (props: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awaken; Guardians of the Galaxy; Burke and Hare) from a screenplay co-written with Ian Thomas (The Bunker, 2017), the Savage Media production stars Matthew Neal (The Holly Kane Experiment), Eve Pearson (Kindred Spirits), Zachary Street and John Lee Pellet.
Europe 1815. War rages across the continent. A young noblewoman’s coach is hijacked and her husband is murdered by a desperate British soldier. At gunpoint, the soldier spins her an outlandish tale of plagues, conspiracies, and men returning from the dead.
Wounded in battle, John Cross has lost the will to fight and has resigned himself to seeing out the remainder of the war in a military hospital.
Unfortunately, against his will, John’s superior officers send him out into no-mans land to investigate rumours of a strange plague that is ravaging the area. Captured by the French, John’s companions are deliberately exposed to the disease. Together they escape but one by one his friends succumb to horrific deaths only to come back from the dead, and John is forced to fight for his life…
“I must commend Bill Thomas not only on his imagination and originality but also on his ability to use re-enactors and their materiel to create a realistic early 19th-century setting. However, I do think he’s been overly ambitious, creating a story which must perforce be largely told in flashbacks and where the really impressive spectacle happens off-screen or only hypothetically.” Cult films and the people who make them
“The characters are all impressively fleshed out, the historical accuracy and research is impeccable and proudly on display and for a period piece, the actors put on good performances. The makeup effects are great and what little CG there is, is well integrated. The only downfall of this film is its plot structure which is very unconventional.” Daniel Mannouch
“Director Bill Thomas has the rare ability to make a very low budget film look as though it cost much more to make. The cast is good for the genre, and there are some interesting ideas. As a whole though, not all aspects of the film quite gel and the cover art makes it look as though there is far more horror than what there is.” DVD Compare
“The zombies here are well realised and they deliver enough gore and carnage to keep fans happy, even if there is a shortage of actual scares. Thomas tries to add enough new angles to keep this flesh-eating fresh. He plays around with timelines to add complexity and it’s a noble attempt to spin a different type of zombie yarn. However, at times it does get a little ‘talky’…” Movies in Focus
” …there was a fantastically directed sequence at a French checkpoint that felt like it wouldn’t be out of place in a Quentin Tarantino flick, lots of tension and long awkward silences, meanwhile the plot does at least try to do something different and has some interesting twists and turns along the way that took me by surprise…” The Rotting Zombie
” …though the frontline sequences are cleverly orchestrated, well-acted and with some fine make-up, the initial expositional aboard a carriage that he intercepts, whereby he proceeds to tell his story, drags on for what seems an eternity […] Stick with it though, as it’s a British production that’s well worth your time.” The Schlock Pit
Cast and characters:
Matthew Neal … John Cross
Eve Pearson … Celine
Zachary Street … Piper
“Baby” John Lee Pellet … Hardy
Julian Farrance … Major Blaine
Harry Harrold … Captain Sears
Jason Marchant … Priest
Alex Bevan … Captain Lefevre
Roland Bearne … Albert
Christopher Puttock … Reanimated Old Guard
Kiera Gould … Diseased Girl
Jon Boylan … Scout
JP Berry … Guise
Laura Bisby … French Soldier
Tom Butterworth … Voice of Guise
Ian Thomas … French Prisoner
According to MJ Simpson’s invaluable website Cult films and the people who make them “Fallen Soldiers was shot over ten days in July 2011 as Grist for the Mill (with a few pick-ups later in the year). After lengthy post-production, there was a one-off screening in February 2014 and the film finally made it to DVD in July 2015.”