October 20th 1918 – The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, WWI
Enlisted TOMMY ATKINS is not cut out for war. He is nearly paralyzed by fear, yet he is ushered into battle, where he gets shot in the abdomen. He is dragged into safety by his brother, HARRY ATKINS. Harry patches him up and waits for him to get rested up before trying to catch up with his Division that has moved on past the German frontlines. Tommy thumbs an unopened TELEGRAM, seemingly scared to open it.
Later that night Tommy spots a peculiar, Boar-like creature in No Man’s Land. Tommy remembers an encounter with a French soldier, JEAN-PIERRE, who has been telling stories about a strange beast, “Le Voirloup”, roaming the battlefield at night, devouring the souls of dead soldiers. That night, Tommy has another altercation with the creature, and as the beast is about to lunge at him –
— Tommy snaps to, laying on his back in the dirt in the trench, with MAJOR WHITLEY yelling at him. Later, as the soldiers are getting ready to head into battle. Tommy stands up for an African American soldier who is getting berated by the Major. The Major and Tommy have an altercation. As they run into battle, Tommy gets lost in the fog, he finds Harry dead, strung up on a barricade with a bullet wound in the head. Freaked out, Tommy backs away from him, only to stumble on a figure on the ground, huddled over something – it’s the creature, with massive boar-like head, red eyes, and blood-stained fangs. Tommy sees HIMSELF under the beast, with a gaping hole in his stomach. Tommy screams. He comes to in the trench, he’s been shot in the side.
A few days later, Tommy is back in the trench, he finally opens the Telegram he’s been carrying with him, informing him that his brother, Harry has been dead for several weeks. Tommy snaps as he realizes that the past week has been a shell-shocked hallucination. His brother was never there with him.
Disillusioned and confused, he walks into the Major’s bunker. The Major gets in his face, Tommy notices the tattoo of a Boar on the Major’s forearm. Tommy picks up the Major’s gun, hesitates, then shoots him dead. Tommy leaves the bunker, grabs his rifle, and walks out into No Man’s Land, finally facing his greatest fear – his own death.
Directed by Steven Lundgren (USA)