A nasty viral plague eats and decays victims from the inside out, blood oozes from every poor in the skin and boils fester, and can be transmitted through the saliva and blood. The hot zone spreads fast among the nation’s crumbling society, but one isolated clinic, the also epicenter of the disease, experiments with a cure, testing the trials on the infected. Young, wife Linda, a nurse at the clinic, goes suddenly missing and her husband gears up to search for her at the clinic to only find out that his wife has fell into the grasps of a maniacal scientist exploiting the cure as a baleful booster to create the already plagued-ridden with another side effect – extreme violence. The playing level turns increasingly difficult with maximum carnage when finding himself trapped deep inside the callous clinic straight from hell and must use any melee weapon to his advantage in each ghastly stage if he wants to save his wife from the deranged creatures and the complete governmental noxious gas eradication of the disease in the next 24 hours.
For those of us who’ve fired up a DELL computer with Radeon gaming hardware installed, sat large noise-reduction earphones over our ears, and ran a CD-ROM through the disc drive to start up a MS-DOS video game, a bit of nostalgia will revert the senses back to a more primordial time of a young gaming culture and evoke the obsessive behaviors of our adolescent selves. A game that will inherently put you into the player’s shoes with a weapon at hand and many antagonists to cut down at the whim of a mouse click as the priding first person shooter. That’s what one German filmmaker, Andreas Luetzelschwab, who goes by the credit Andreas Tom, titled his script now film project, “FPS: First Person Shooter,” that harks back to the good, yet not so old days of 8-bit blood, command cheat codes, and with a hero bestowing a snarky, snide tongue. The 2014 action-horror recalls the disk operating system gaming graphics of the early 1990s that’s been long lost and seemingly forever forgotten for nearly 20 years.
Now, since Andreas Tom’s “First Person Shooter” puts the viewer in place as the player, a BDSM gimp dressed hero ready to face the mutated virus head on. No real character takes the stage with only the voice of the iconic voice actor, Stephan Weyte, resurrecting his distinctive and black vocal quips for the player hammering away at the ghoulish zombies. Weyte’s a famous name in the world of first person shooter games being the voice of the antihero Caleb in the excessively violent and demonic “Blood” and “Blood II: The Chosen” horror inspired FPS PC games from the late 90s. Weyte’s deep, sometimes raspy, tone suits the film’s temperament much the same of those gloriously carnage cult classic PC games and he’s essentially doing all the dialogue for the film, with the exception of some in and out characters. The genetic makeup of the remaining cast are relatives of Andreas Tom, including co-producer Atlanta Lützelschwab as the attic’s nurse zombie complete with barbed wire around the eyes, Hans Lützelschwab as a boss-level surgeon zombie, and assistant director Achim Lützelschwab as the cook who whips vats of stew made of human chunks. Obviously, these are German actors being voiced with an overlay language from English speaking actors, such as Stephen Weyte, and so other vocal and action performances come from Tobias Winkler as a tall clown zombie, Sebastian Kettner, Ines Klein, Rick Whelan, Rob Banks, Jürgen Sütterlin, and Sascha Strack.
This past August, another first person shooter was reviewed, Giulio De Santi’s “Hotel Inferno,” which delivered an energetic and chaotic run amuck bloodbath that really sold the experience of playing a FPS and though “First Person Shooter” was released after, the film still provides the same kind of gun-toting, ass-kicking euphoria while on a smaller scale and focusing more on making that connection to the audience that you’re the gamer playing the game. For example, the movie begins with the DOS game’s screen of a static menu and once all your difficult settings are set and in place and the press start button is pressed, a virtual newscaster delivers the backstory of the viral outbreak and dons a principal figure, in the form of a 8-bit man, going to the clinic to search for his missing wife. The, the video game seamlessly transitions into live action, but the attributes of the game are still abound with a life bar, the gaining of objects, autosave, and disappearing bodies (that are a symptom of the virus). At the surface level comparison of “First Person Shooter” and “Hotel Inferno,” both films are akin to characterization, but differ in executions with “Hotel Inferno” just outright more violent without referring to itself outside the context of just another movie whereas the focus here is centered on video game idiosyncrasies inside that very context. The patients in developing scenes out of the virtual combat simulation ethos exhibits remarkable talent to fathom-to-fruition all the nuances like weapon caching, ominous camera angles and interpersonal communications to push the story along menacingly, and splicing the recording of level playing video with the composition of a pair of gesturing and weaponized hands to simulate that type of game play. For a loyal gamer, “First Person Shooter” bares the berserk survival horror instincts while for the loyal cinema goer, the ostentatious design is unique and graphic, even for the casual horror fan.
For the first time on US DVD home video, “First Person Shooter” is distributed by Wild Eye under the Raw & Extreme banner, the same as “Hotel Inferno,” with a widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio, presentation that’s clean and composed of a double recording, along with an 8-bit Wolfenstein or Doom gameplay edited in for some extracurricular slaughter activity. The colors reduced some, I’d say by 20-30%, to exact a bit of bleakness atmospherics and some details are smoothed over due exact a true video game effect, like in muzzle flashes. The English language stereo dialogue track is an obvious dub on the German made film and another good dead giveaway is that all actors have their mouths covered by surgical masks, gas masks, hockey masks, etc., but Stephen Weyte’s crystal clear derogatory comments show no sign of being muddled. The ambient track’s a little soft at times, especially with the gatling gun, that should be ripping bullets and fling casings with puncturing hundreds of holes into zombie girth. Bonus features include behind-the-scenes outtakes, a walkthrough examination of the set, composing the looming score, and trailers. Wild Eye’s illustrated DVD front cover also pays homage to Duke Nukem with a tall standing and beefy dark hero blasting holes through zombies at his feet. “First Person Shooter” markets goods sold as advertised of intense game play without the need for a single controller and without omitting one single ounce of blood to shed in this mercurial fascination of when gory cinema magic meets gory computer gaming.