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When the COVID-19 virus forced the world to shut down in March of 2020, every live-action film and television production followed suit and went into quarantine... except one. That'd be Warhunt, a supernatural horror film set against the backdrop of World War II — one made in the vein of Overlord, Ghosts of War, and Shadow in the Cloud — that was able to wrap up its Latvia-based production a little over a month after the pandemic first began. That's actually pretty nuts when you think about it, especially since Warhunt is a period piece, albeit a wholly fictional one.
Set in 1945, the movies follows a group of American soldiers dropped deep behind enemy lines in Germany's Black Forest to recover sensitive documents from a crashed airplane. What begins as a routine search and retrieve mission turns into a fight for survival — and a struggle to hold onto sanity for dear life — when the GIs stumble into territory occupied by a murderous coven of witches. The visual of mutilated Nazi corpses strung up on tress in the middle of nowhere gives off some serious Predator vibes.
Iron Man 2's Mickey Rourke gets top billing as Major Johnson, the ruthless and eyepatch-wearing military man who green-lights the dangerous operation led by Sergeant Brewer (Robert Knepper) and Walsh (Jackson Rathbone). Once the Americans start to realize what's going on, they must uncover the terrible truth behind their circumstances before the Nazis do everything in their power to remove any evidence that it ever existed.
Mauro Borrelli (The Recall) directed the film, working off a screenplay he co-wrote with regular creative collaborators, Reggie Keyohara III and Scott Svatos. Strict safety measures — like mandatory face masks and social distancing — were implemented on the set and served as an early blueprint for how to shoot a live-action project in the uncertain age of COVID.
“It was surreal at the beginning, but the cast and crew quickly adjusted to the masks and other precautions, so we ended up even more focused and efficient," Borrelli, who conceived of the screen story, told Variety in April 2020 shortly after principal photography had wrapped.
“There were additional procedures on set, but it quickly became the norm and everyone got on with it," added producer Yu-Fai Suen. "For makeup, each actor had a dedicated kit so makeup artists used only the same brushes, makeup etc. on the same actor. All makeup artists, of course, wore facemasks when applying makeup.”
Clocking in at 93 minutes, Warhunt (rated R) arrives in theaters and on digital and VOD Jan. 21, 2022.