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Bullets and Blades Against a Zombie Horde in This French Horror-Thriller!

  • Dec 28, 2010
Rating:
+4
For the past 5-8 years, French filmmakers have been kicking Hollywood’s butt when it comes to horror films. Films such as “Martyrs”, “Inside” and “High Tension” have portrayed the darkness of human nature to a level that pushes the envelope; this have always surprised me when my friends would appear shocked that I own such films in my collection. I guess they see horror as mere entertainment and I smile whenever they don’t get to laugh and instead they appear traumatized when they actually see true horror filmmaking.

Well, I have always been curious about how the French would take on a zombie film and so I immediately grabbed the opportunity to view French directors Benjamin Rocher and Yannick Dahan’s “La Horde” (2009, but just recently released in the U.S. as “The Horde“) that mixes elements of gangster films and zombie horror.

              

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When four less than ‘clean’ policemen invade a gangster’s hideout near Paris without a warrant with the intention of avenging a colleague‘s death, they quickly found themselves outmanned, outgunned and trapped by the tougher, more ruthless drug dealers. The operation is a complete mess but when both sides find themselves faced by something evil and different…as undead zombies have risen up to eat the flesh of the living. Now, criminals and cops must form an uneasy alliance to survive the zombie assault; but is there anywhere left to turn?

The plot of “The Horde” is quite simple as it follows the simple rules of a claustrophobic horror film. It follows the efforts of a small group of people who’d like to survive the night, trapped in a limited space with death lurking just outside the area trying to come in. The script by Arnaud Bordas and Yannick Dahan isn’t pretentious, it keeps things simple and yet it covers the depths of its story. Characters are developed the longer they stay together and they stay true to their purpose. The characters know what they are in for, they know they have to work together and they need to co-exist. Much like a Romero film, “La Horde” goes through a subtle commentary that humans are more capable of betrayal and selfish acts than the walking dead themselves. It also points out that the way to survive is through teamwork and humans must learn to know the values of sacrifice and teamwork to succeed in their goals.

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Also, the film goes through some studies of human behavior. Bola, the “carny” and the old man seemed to revel in the punishment of a lone female creature. Yes, humans have a despicable quality that makes one doubt if they are worth saving. The French does go a step further as one man actually considered sexually assaulting a zombie since she still appeared fresh with still ‘good remains’. I found this scene a little funny and yet unnerving as it appeared so casual with the characters. I guess this was the direction taking aim at the atrocities committed during a war.

Yes, the film is quite bloody, brutal, gory and very violent. The film seems more driven by action than elements of horror. Limbs are hacked off, heads are sent flying, blood gushes and brains and entrails become splattered all over the screen. There is a lot of gunfire in the film as well as visceral uses of a blunt object and even a machete (some scenes felt like a grindhouse feature). The direction was also successful in generating tension as our group goes around the building looking for weapons and a way to escape. I also liked the facial reactions as they go around trying to get away, some were afraid, some were angry but most of them felt helpless despite the fact that they fight on. The colors appear rather muted as with a lot of these type of movies and the cinematography has that gloomy feel to it. I did like the way that the 'reds' appeared much more vibrant than the other colors, makes the blood and gore stand out to reflect its visceral punch.

           

         

There are some subplots that drive the complexities of Aurore’s (played by Claude Perron) character and I welcome them. I like the fact that the film has a strong female lead that is determined to see this mission through. The Nigerian brothers Ade and Bola have their own sense of a symbiotic relationship but then it slowly collapses when tainted by doubt and indecision. As with other zombie movies, there are expositions of sacrifice and courage. The zombies in the film are the fast-moving, feral type that appears similar to the ones in [REC] and “28 Days Later”. The origins to the zombie apocalypse remain unexplained, whether they are demonic or a viral plague, the viewer would not know. But I am betting that their origins are more demonic since hints of ‘judgment day’ were mentioned in the film.

“The Horde” is a very good zombie film. It was simple and yet effective in drawing forth a feeling of hopelessness and brings to summation the need to survive and to fulfill one‘s goal. The film is incredibly action-packed and the scenes were kept tight and tense in its 93 minute runtime. Yes, the film had clichéd set ups but it made good in its development. If zombie action had a name…it must be “la Horde”.

Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]
 

 
Bullets and Blades Against a Zombie Horde in This French Horror-Thriller! Bullets and Blades Against a Zombie Horde in This French Horror-Thriller! Bullets and Blades Against a Zombie Horde in This French Horror-Thriller! Bullets and Blades Against a Zombie Horde in This French Horror-Thriller!

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January 04, 2011
oOo, yay, a good zombie movie! I'm sure the French just loved being able to swear and beat the shit out of something (because French people have lots of anger, as personally confirmed by my one and only temperamental French friend). And since I don't keep up with foreign film circles, I certainly haven't heard of Martyrs or Inside, but am going to check them out now! Thanks again Woopak! ^_^
January 04, 2011
y'know now that you've said something in regards to French anger, it does add up! It makes sense how their filmamkers can often come up with stuff that pushes the envelope. Martyrs hit my 2009 best films list I think. Thanks for the read!
 
December 31, 2010
I'm glad to see you gave this a 4 because after you told me about it I went right over to NetFlix and it wound up at the top of my list so it's going to be the next movie I see. By the way I finally saw DAYBREAKERS and really liked it. I can't remember now if it was you or Trashie who recommended it, but it was well worth it. Of course I can't do more than skim your review now.
December 31, 2010
Alex was just saying that how you disliked gangster movies and how you loved zombies. But I do think that you'll like this one. It was simple but pretty intense; there were parts that kind of felt like a grindhouse feature, (forgot to mention in the review). Hey, have you seen [REC] yet?  Glad you liked DAYBREAKERS, I actually recommended that to Trashie and he also really liked it. That vampire movie was something different indeed.
January 05, 2011
Very grindhouse. I expected Danny Trejo to show up at any moment. Yeah I did see both [REC] and the American version of it.
 
December 29, 2010
Ah, I'm patiently waiting for this one. A friend of mine is burning me a copy and giving me artwork to go with it. ;-) I've been dying to see this one. Great write-up and thanks for sharing this with me!!
December 30, 2010
Great! I hope you review it. This was a little cliched, but I liked the way it kept the intensity. hey, I reviewed a zombie TV Series. :)
 
December 28, 2010
You know I love zombie flicks WP, the most hilarious thing about this film is it mixes something Karen loves with something that she, well, doesn't so much. Zombie films with Gangster films, don't know why but that was the first thing I thought of.
December 30, 2010
Yeah, I thought that too. I am waiting on Karen to see this one. Hey, I dropped a review for a zombie TV series. :)
 
December 28, 2010
Finally, a French horror flick with guts! LOL! Actually, this looks pretty decent despite my being sick of zombies and not having been impressed with French horror films.
December 28, 2010
"French horror movie with guts" now why didn't I think of that? Think of all the cliche of zombie movies and then take them to the possible extreme. Love the action, blood and gore on this one. =)
December 28, 2010
Yeah, I'm kind of impressed that the French have gone back to zombies. There was a short period in the late '70s and early '80s where they turned out a few zombie flicks.
December 28, 2010
I remember. I did like "Zombi" and the other stuff. I liked this one, feels like a no-nonsense zombie action-horror thriller. Oh, the U.S. version has been edited a little though. I got the European version. I've noticed that European zombie flicks are doing away with viral zombie gene as the cause and are going for the supernatural as the root. I kinda like it.
December 28, 2010
For me there's only so many ways to have the military accidentally leak a virus that zombifies people. LOL! There was a really cool fantasy horror film, the title which I can't remember, where a sorcerer raises an army of the dead to battle a barbarian princess. It was sort of like "Red Sonja" meets "Army of Darkness". I'll have to ask Queenie if she's seen it.
December 28, 2010
Hmm...that does sound familiar. Is it "Barbarian Queen" or DeathStalker"?
December 28, 2010
Nope. I did like "Death Stalker" though.
December 28, 2010
I love the wenches.... ;)
December 28, 2010
I'm going to start calling you Groo. Speaking of which, Queenie isn't familiar with Groo!
December 28, 2010
Really? That is a shocker.
December 28, 2010
Sure is, Groopak. LOL!
December 28, 2010
hey...I like that. Groopak the thrill! hhmmm....
December 28, 2010
I was thinking Groopak the Wanderer, but if you don't want to wander...
December 28, 2010
how about Groopak the awesome wanderer? Hmm...I think I may ask the folks about a new screenname LOL!
December 28, 2010
Groopak the Dunderer. Groopak the Blunderer. Groopak the Philanderer. Groopak the Thunderer. There are just so many possibilities. LOL!
December 28, 2010
I am so confused!! :(
December 28, 2010
How about Groopak the Awesome Asian Movie Reviewer, who vanquishes online trolls, fights with kung fu sound effects, and woos all the damsels in distress? LMAO!
December 28, 2010
Ok...that does sound awesome. I am contacting Debbie to change my screenname....
December 28, 2010
Seriously?! LOL!
December 28, 2010
yup. the cornier and sillier it is, the catchier! oh, Dave sent me this vid, so I uploaded it.http://www.lunch.com/Reviews/online_video/JUST_TAKE_ONE-1682886.html
 
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More The Horde (La Horde, 2009) reviews
review by . August 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**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 …
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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
  •  
  • view wiki

    Details

    Genre: Horror
    Release Date: 2009
    MPAA Rating: Unrated
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