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British war horror movie made in 2002. It was the directorial debut of Michael J. Bassett, who later went on to direct the movie Solomon Kane.Set during World War One, a group of British soldiers "go over the top" in an assault against German lines. However, in the middle of the battle, a mysterious fog descends upon the battlefield and the night suddenly turns into day. Hours later, they finally stumble upon the German trenches only to find a mere 3 German soldiers, petrified and pointing their guns down their own trenches. The British soldiers call for them to surrender, but the Germans are more scared of something in the trench than them. After murdering two of them and torturing the third, the British troops begin exploring the trench, only to find the bodies of more Germans, seemingly killed by friendly fire. Even stranger, the trenches seem to lead nowhere, simply doubling back on themselves. With a prisoner babbling about demons, impenetrable fog, and a broken radio, they quickly form a defensive position and wait for reinforcements that never come.Though their radio can't send messages, it can still receive them. High command seems rather sure that the attack failed and there were no survivors....Needless to say, things go downhill from there.
Anachronism Stew: Not very overt, but there are some inconsistencies. The Lee-Enfield rifles wielded by the soldiers are a later, WWII-era version of the model (the WWI version being harder to come by). But the most obvious example by far is the surprisingly small radio receiver they find and repair. No country had military or civilian radios that small and advanced during WWI. It would fit better in the 1920s. In addition, most of the German rifles are actually WWII-era Kar98k's.
Regards the SMLE, the WW1 version (the No.1 Mk III or Mk III*) is not difficult to come by at all: the Australians went on making them until after World War 2.
Foreshadowing: Connected to the Fog of Doom above. The protagonists were fighting off the Germans from their trench in the middle of the night, but got knocked out and awoke in a somewhat different location, surrounded completely by thick fog. And the night suddenly changed to day time. One or two of the characters even lampshade the unusualness of this.
Karmic Death: Most of the cast, who are each shown to be morally flawed (or just unlucky) in some way, are shown to get their comeuppance in various gruesome ways. Especially Quinn. *shudder*
Last Name Basis: A subversion, since in the script and credits, the characters are mentioned by their full names. But the only personal name used on screen regularly is Charlie's.
Let's Split Up, Gang: Despite blowing up the approaches to their trench to limit the space they have to defend, the squad never seem to be within sight, earshot, or running distance of each other when anything happens, and stationary, presumably vulnerable characters like Chevasse and the prisoner go unguarded and unmentioned for long stretches of the film. Unsurprisingly, this results in a Dwindling Party.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The whole haunting and supernatural phenomenna going on in the abandoned trench. Including living barbed-wire.
Mercy Kill: Charlie does this to Chevasse after he discovers rats are eating his legs.
Or to give the writer a little more credit: They all died in the initial attack, the trench is a form of Purgatory, and the German is an angel/demon who's purpose is to test the morality of their characters. Those that fail die and stay in the trench, those that succeed get to leave it. Notice that this makes a lot more sense, given what's mentioned in the Foreshadowing entry.
Secret Test of Character: Charlie's persistent and mounting refusal to kill anyone seems to be what separates him from his squadmates until he does, is apparently sucked into the underworld, escapes, is then held at gunpoint by the prisoner, and is released... Because You Were Nice to Me.