The interesting premise of Boots on the Ground is completely ruined by the found footage style it employs. It is one of the most unwatchable modern horrors even if it does feel really authentic.
The movie follows five British troops on the last night of the Afghan war as they retreat from heavy enemy gunfire. It’s dark and the firefight leaves them disorientated until they come across an abandoned fortress. From distance they see what looks like another unit of British soldiers going inside so follow.
Once in they don’t find the soldiers they saw but they do come across millions of American dollars hidden inside. Some of the unit want to take the money and run away from life in the army but the rest just want to make it through the night and go home.
Tensions run high over the money but there is a much bigger threat. A supernatural threat and no amount of training could have prepared them for this.
The story is decent but hardly original even if the location and background make for a nice change of horror pace.
Helmet-mounted video cameras make up the footage that we see during Boots on the Ground. Each character has one and while it does make for an authentic watch, the over-use of blinking flashlights and shaky camera is really off-putting. To make matters worse, the darkness and uniforms makes characters difficult to pick out making it hard to really care about them. Even if the acting is pretty strong.
What does work well though is the film’s attempt to build tension. The lulls between firefights and characters panicking are when things ramp up and you never really know where the scares are going to come from. Many jump scare moments are fairly effective.
Unfortunately, the use of poor CGI damages the realism as the movie goes on. CGI in found footage is rarely a good idea and in Boots on the Ground it doesn’t look good.
Boots on the Ground is the kind of movie you want to love because it’s adding supernatural horror to an already horrific event (Afghan War). It’s realistic up to a point which fits the tone but it’s the worst kind of example of found-footage horror. Unwatchable.
Boots on the Ground