Sunday, February 13, 2011

Horde, The - 4/5

Despite the mixed reviews that France's "The Horde" had received, many recommendations came for the zombie flick and eventually I was able to get my hands on a copy. In all honesty, I loved it. Not a perfect film, but its energy and sheer adrenaline pumping pace make for one hell of a watch. It's modern zombie film details layered upon old school zombie survival foundations with some serious French patented brutality in tow. Not the best out there, but its a blast.

A group of police officers with a reluctant officer in the midst go on a revenge spree against a group of shady gangsters in a semi-abandoned building on the outskirts of a major unnamed French city, when they find the entire plan shot to hell. Turns out judgment day is upon them and a horde of zombies have the abandoned building surrounded. Now cops and robbers must team up to get to the bottom of the building and out alive...if they don't kill each other first.

France has put out some solid material in the Horror genre. Even the hit and miss "Mutants" (another zombie flick) was solid and enjoyable. Where that film was purely modern in its zombie isolated edge, "The Horde" rides a nice line between the new style and the old, which is where it succeeds. Like the great early zombie films from Romero, the interaction between our struggling survivors is what really makes "The Horde" such an entertaining watch. Although I would have liked more of a build up for some of the characters, a half hour more would have sufficed, its the tension between the cops and the gang that really makes the film palpable. The first 20 minutes feel more like a crime drama film and it would have been nice to carry over some of that build to later on instead of hopping straight onto the zombie chaos train. It works for what it is, but it feels like it could have been more later on.

As for the zombie chaos train, "The Horde" surely exceeds the needs for that. Once this film starts booking it with the violence and intense zombie attacks it truly does it. Thanks to some of that insane French brutality (the first zombie attack is damn ridiculous with the bullet spray and gore!), this film really grasps that modern zombie injection of intensity. Would have liked to see some of that CGI gore taken out, particularly when shit hits the fan at the end, but the rest is kicking and this film really knows how to use its zombie madness to hit all the right spots.

The film isn't perfect as it lacks some of the depth it could have dealt out with its strong characters and their interactions, but its sprint pacing and and visual flair for the brutal (and occasionally dark humored) make it a rather beastly watch. Fans of the zombie genre will definitely get excited for it even if it isn't all that original.

BONUS RANT: Why the hell does every one in the damn building carry an arsenal of weaponry? Obviously, its a bad neighborhood, but who the hell carries a sub machine gun in their apartment? Or grenades? Or that much ammo? I'll go with it since it gives our protagonists plenty to blast with, but it is a little much. Even for this guy. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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