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Burial (2022) – Review

August 31, 2022

Quick thoughts – Burial (2002) – Grade – C+ – Burial tells a unique story about Russians attempting to take Hitler’s remains back to Stalin during the waning days of World War 2, but it’s much too dour to leave a lasting impression. The cinematography by Rein Kotov is the best aspect of the movie as Kotov does a fine job capturing the beauty and dense forests of Estonia.

Set during the last days of WWII, Burial focuses on the dangerous journey of a handful of Russian Soldiers who’ve been tasked with a mission that involves transporting Hitler’s corpse and battling German “Werwolves” who want to bury the body to ensure that Hitler’s corpse doesn’t make it to Stalin. Due to the secrecy of the mission, the Russian crew are forced to transport Hitler’s coffin without the usage of trains or planes which might put too many eyes on the cargo. Instead, Brana Vasilyeva (Charlotte Vega) and several other soldiers load the coffin onto a truck and embark on a days long backroads journey from Berlin to Moscow. Every night they are forced to bury the coffin to protect its location, and the violence kicks off when a German sniper attacks the convoy which leads to the Russian’s abandoning their vehicle and embarking on a journey through dense wooded areas that are loaded with “Werwolves.”  On the surface, Burial sounds like a super fun movie that tells a fictional story influenced by the fact that there were actual German “Werwolf”units (describe as “old men and Hitler youth who won’t give up the fight” in the movie) that went behind enemy lines to cause chaos by using mind games, guerilla tactics and propaganda to strike fear in the Allied army ranks. Also, Soviet troops were the first to make it to Hitler’s bunker, so the idea behind Burial is sound and makes for a great jumping off point for a fictional thriller that is told through the narration of veteran actor Harriet Walter (Killing Eve, Succession, The Last Duel, The Crown, Downton Abbey, Mindhorn, Rocketman and many other excellent movies and TV shows)

The biggest problem with Burial is that it is super dour and never lets itself have an ounce of fun. Unlike Overlord (2018), which embraced gore, violence, and mayhem to tell its revisionist B-movie war story, Burial doesn’t open up and let loose. Part of this is because of the small budget which limits special effects, explosions and locations, and part of it is the script by Ben Parker that is more focused on the psychological aspects of war and the fact that the Russians need to avoid conflict and create as little waves as possible. It’s a bit unfair to compare Burial to the bonkers Overlord, as they both tackle World War 2 stories differently. However, the idea of Russian soldiers and German “Werwolves” fighting for Hitler’s corpse is ripe for some over the top moments, and they never come. 

The unique premise and beautiful filming locations should’ve created a fun and claustrophobic experience that feels like Dog Soldiers met up with The 13th Warrior (which features monsters who are actually men) and formed a fun World War 2 B-movie. However, both the German and Russians soldiers are never given much personality, and we’re stuck with watching people shooting at each other in credible action scenes. It is nice watching Charlotte Vegas and Tom Felton do what they can with their characters, and they both find ways to become likable and believable as they fight off the Germans who don’t want Hitler being delivered to Russia. 

Final thoughts – The performances, cinematography and direction are all fine, but Burial lacks personality and only works because the actors are committed and the action scenes featured real and deadly stakes

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2022 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the review. Will be skipping this one, doesn’t sound like it stands out enough and should be watched instead of others. I thought it might be really good, but I’ll take your word on it.

    • September 12, 2022 9:54 am

      Welcome! I have a weird relationship with Burial. Technically, it’s fine, but it’s just so dour.

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