As the second season of Love, Death + Robots was recently released on Netflix, I thought I’d go back and give one of the episodes from the first season of the animated anthology show a rewatch…
THE SECRET WAR tells the story of a group of Red Army soldiers hunting and fighting demons in Russian forests during World War 2. The soldiers have several encounters with the hell-creatures and also find a notebook that describes how an old Soviet plan called ‘Operation Hades’ is the reason the creatures were summoned in the first place, but the demons weren’t controllable and became the menace they are now.
The Russian soldiers attempt to neutralise a large subterranean nest of demons with explosives, but this causes a huge cave-in, provoking masses of the creatures to crawl to the surface. The Russians make a last stand, whilst one of their number rides off, tasked with requesting a major bombing of the area.
The next morning we see the malformed creatures munching on the corpses of the dead soldiers, then Soviet planes fly overhead and they begin bombing the site (the demon-things are depicted as a horde of deformed, hairless creatures that come across more like monstrous aliens rather than demons from hell.)
THE SECRET WAR is amazing to look at, with a hyper-realistic style impressively depicting the cold Russian landscapes. Digic Pictures, a Hungarian 3D animation studio that specialises in the production of 3D animated game cinematics, made this episode. The 16 minute story, however, feels more like a fragment of a bigger plot, so THE SECRET WAR does rather come across like a cool cutscene for a high-end video game.