16th Jan2018

‘Viking Siege’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Michelle McTernan, Rosanna Hoult, Craig Russell, Owain Rhys Davies, Alan Booty, Andrew David, Leon Davies, Phil Deguara, Sarah Driver, Philip Dyas, Richard Elis, Michael Geary, James Groom, Charlotte Hughes, Les Kenny-Green | Written by Philip Dyas, Alastar Kirton | Directed by Jack Burton

Viking-Siege-DVD

During a wild night of debauchery, a gang of vengeful women plot to massacre a monastery full of corrupt monks who sold their loved ones as slaves. Their plan comes undone however when a gang of marauding Vikings arrives with an army of vicious, tree-like demons on their tail… Facing insurmountable odds, the disparate group of enemies must set aside their differences and forge a tense alliance if they are to survive the night.

Viking Siege, it’s a title that conjures up images of epic battles, unbridled heroism and probably the odd monster to fight here and there. Turns out in this case two out of three ain’t bad – at least there’s monsters… Tree Beasts in fact. Seemingly born from the crash-landing of a meteor on Earth, in a pre-credits scene that sets the oh-so-campy tone for the rest of this film. How camp? Well if I tell you the film was originally called Attack of the Tree Beasts and half the cast speak with a Guy Ritchie-esque Cockney foul mouth and the rest with a Yorkshire twang you might get somewhat of a handle on what to expect.

Unfortunately it takes ages to get to the titular siege, with the first half of the film spent setting up the womens attack on the monks and the fallout from it. That portion of the film is hard going, but stick with it (I’ll be honest and admit I almost gave up on the film) and – once the vikings arrive and along with them the tree beasts – Viking Siege turns on its head, ramping up the tension, the suspense and the action. It’s almost like a completely different film – gone is the stilted dialogue, the wooden performances and in comes nuances and emotion. So much so, that when some of the already small number of survivors are captured and killed in front of their compatriots, you can’t help but feel for cast of characters. It’s a remarkable turnaround, in terms of both storytelling and filmmaking, for a movie that seemingly started out so disastrous.

Thankfully, to tide you over in the early going, the film does have its grisly moments: there are throat cuts a-plenty, a face burning, one monk being fed hot coal…but don’t get too excited, those are the highlights, the true stand outs. Most of the violence in Viking Siege consists of little more than people spewing up copious amounts of blood while being stabbed more times than would ever be necessary to kill someone!

Surprisingly, by the time the film ended I found myself truly enjoying the film. Which to be fair is because it’s right up my street. Everything about Viking Siege, from the cliched (and sometimes hilarious) dialogue to over the top performances and the ridiculously overwrought score, screams camp B-movie and I love my B-movies. I have to wonder, had the film stuck to the original title, would this slice of cinematic cheese stood more of a chance of finding an audience, like myself, more open to its B-movie charms?

Viking Siege is out now on DVD from Altitude.

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