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Not bad for a kick-ass zombie action horror-thriller...

  • Aug 17, 2012
**1/2 out of ****

If you like your zombies served fast and your action served with a side-dish of brutality; then the French zombie-action film "The Horde" is likely to be your wet dream. Probably not one of your fondest, but a fond one nevertheless. I admire it for just going fucking berserk for long periods of time and thoroughly entertaining my thirst for blood, guts, and the undead while leaving all deep characterization and narrative credibility at the door. As a film for its genre, it is relentless and fast-paced; exciting and hyperactively violent. As a film in general, it is perhaps far too simplistic and forgettable for its own good. But if one is to judge it on the grounds that they should - in this case its own - then one will also discover that it's not all so bad. If you've got at least one quarter of an entire film brimming with at least some artistic inspiration, you've got more than most films these days as it is.

A quartet of French policeman (and one woman) raid an abandoned apartment complex in an act of vengeance against some depraved drug dealers who killed a close friend (whose body is seen dead at the end of the film; or at least we presume it is his). They are overpowered and held captive by the dealers, who are armed with guns, knives, and drugs; but not for long. Just as things are about to heat up, hordes of the undead come crashing through the doors and flooding the hallways. One is enough to kill several of the previously "living"; these are powerful beings that, like most zombies today, have outlived the convention that George Romero popularized of zombies being slow and clumsy. The groups are split up and the remaining cops must team up with the thugs to get out alive.

I think the style, carefully yet recklessly executed by directors Benjamin Rocher and Yannick Dahan, more than makes up for most of the flaws, which include, but are not limited to, the lack of character development and the rapid pacing sometimes getting ahead of itself. The film does stop for a moment in an attempt to conjure up some sort of suspense but it doesn't quite succeed in doing so; the directors think that the style that they possess alone can create tension, but they are wrong. Still, it's a hell of a lot more tense than most Hollywood pictures and I have to commend it for that. Good, bad; it's still worth its weight in blood.

In addition to the weak characters, one of the film's other main weaknesses is its inability to explain the origin of the undead. We see a little excerpt from television but that's about it. Outside on the horizon we see a city exploding right in front of our eyes. Could the zombies themselves be doing this much damage, or is it our attempt to stop them? "The Horde" doesn't have all the answers and doesn't necessarily need some of them, but would have benefitted greatly if it had at least a few. But rational explanations aside, the zombies are nice looking and they can certainly die real good. The gore effects are really great here. There are a number of badass moments that make the film worth checking out on its own: such as a somewhat climactic showdown in a garage and various hallway shootouts. There's also a quirky old man who fights with an axe and can't seem to stop using the word "chink".

But the honest truth is that this isn't a great zombie movie. It isn't even really a good one. But I can't ignore that some considerable craft went into making it; it's just as if the filmmakers were more interested in the effects, the actors (all of whom seem very professional and give good performances), and the camerawork that they had access to over the more important things such as the story and the characters. Nothing but the set-up and the locations are very well drawn out, but that's OK. "The Horde" is gruesome and crazy enough without being particularly interesting or intellectually stimulating. In spite of it being a foreign zombie flick, you'd best leave logic and your criticisms behind. For what it is, I didn't find it boring and it distracted me for a good hour and a half. I know there's a better film to be seen from these filmmakers and I hope it surfaces soon, because "The Horde" indicates a bright future for the both of them so long as next time they develop the substantial elements rather than disregard them all-together.

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Ryan J. Marshall ()
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


The Horde (La Horde)
2009NR96 minutesWhen four corrupt policemen invade a gangster's hideout near Paris to avenge the death of their colleague, they quickly find themselves outmanned, outgunned and trapped. That is, until a legion of vicious zombies swarms through the building. Now, the cops, the crooks and the undead are swept up in a bloody three-way rampage. Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher direct this gore-filled French thriller that stars Jo Prestia and Eriq Ebouaney.
  • Cast:
  • Claude Perron, Jean-Pierre Martins, Alain Figlarz, Aurélien Recoing, Eriq Ebouaney, Jo Prestia
  • Director:
  • Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher
  • Genres:
  • Foreign, Foreign Horror, Zombies, French Language, France, Foreign Regions, Foreign Languages
  • Language:
  • French
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    Genre: Horror
    Release Date: 2009
    MPAA Rating: Unrated
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