At The End of the Day, War Games (2010)
Directed by: Cosimo Alemá
Written by: Cosimo Alemá, Daniele Persica, Romana Meggiolaro
Starring: Daniel Vivian, Michael Lutz, Monika Mirga, Neil Linpow, Stephanie Chapman-Baker, Valene Kane
War Games (At The End of the Day) 
Directed by Cosimo Alemá
Written by Cosimo Alemá, Daniele Persica and Romana Meggiolaro
Starring Stephanie Chapman-Baker, Neil Linpow, Valene Kane, Michael Lutz, Monika Mirga and Daniel Vivian
A group of friends head to a quiet woodlands in the middle of the countryside for an Airsoft skirmish. Using semi-automatic replica weapons with plastic BBs, the friends split into two teams of 4 and 3 and disperse into the woods to play a few rounds. After a few of them are shot and therefore out of the round, they meet back at their base camp. Lara (Stephanie Chapman-Baker) is the first to be out and when the rest of her friends arrive back, she notices her sister Monica (Valene Kane) has failed to return. Surmising that she is lost, Lara and three of her male friends split into two pairs to look for her. When Lara and Riko (Neil Linpow) discover a slaughter house in the woods with dogs gutted and hanging from chains, they quickly make their way back to camp followed by Alex (Sam Cohan) and a panic stricken Thomas (Tom Stanley), who spots a masked man in the woods. In worry and confusion, tensions flare between the group when, out of nowhere, a man (Daniel Vivian) appears with a gun and shoots Alex in the chest. Terrified, the group decide what to do next, but with the gunman laying in wait outside, their next move could prove fatal. The friends realise that their afternoon of fun with ‘toy’ guns has turned into a life or death war with an unknown enemy.
It didn’t take me long to get into this movie. Using a sport such as airsoft, the director sets the scene of one to which we can all relate and shows how easily an enjoyable, relaxed day can turn into a nightmare at any given point. It didn’t help that the friends travelled to the location of an old army grounds, where enemy soldiers were tortured in chambers and blown to smithereens by land mines in the ‘Flamingo Pen’, as discussed by the antagonists at the beginning of the film. The group of friends have to use their Airsoft defense skills to keep out of sight from the armed psychopathic ex-soldiers, especially as their only weapons are plastic BB guns and a sole handgun smuggled in by Alex.
The tension is ranked up in the film as you yourself try to figure out the best plan for the friends to escape the mad men. Unfortunately, they are on the soldiers turf so they are at a clear disadvantage as they run hopelessly around the woods, hiding underwater and crouching behind rocks. With an arsenal of weapons, the kills are varied and when they do arrive every now and again, it’s fairly graphic with a couple that made me wince. The story doesn’t rely on the kills to sell itself, but more the game of cat and mouse, the hunters and the hunted. The most painful scene for me to watch was one involving a dog at the beginning of the film. It depicts the ex-soldiers killing dogs, but soon they lust for the challenge of human prey.
The actors portraying the killer ex-soldiers in the film fitted into their roles well, with their hard, European facial features telling a tale of the pain they had inflicted over the years. Their voices with a calm tranquility as they discuss their prey, a true sign of a professional killer. Meanwhile, the actors playing the group of twenty-something year old friends are very likable, each having their own distinct personality and way of dealing with the situation they are in.
This horror film is enjoyable with a beginning that reminded me of Shadow, which was also set in woodlands but used mountain biking as the focus. However, this film is infinitely better than Shadow, with a plot that actually makes sense and an ending that will make you appreciate the importance of watching and listening in a movie. Based on true events, this is a film which will take you on an experience with the characters in the film.
[pt-filmtitle]War Games (Blu-ray)[/pt-filmtitle]