Title: The Horde (2009)
Directors: Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher
Cast: Eric Ebouaney, Claude Perron, Aurelin Recoing, Dou Dou Masta,
Along with vampires, zombies are the most overused creature in horror film history. Like Sherlock Holmes, James Bond or Dracula, the zombie movie will never die. They’ll lay dormant for a while until a director comes along and re-invents the genre again, then we’ll get a whole new wave of zombie movies and so on and so on. This is what happened with the release of 28 Days Later (2002) and Resident Evil (2002). The zombie movie was dormant during most of the 90, but when those two films hit the scene and made some serious cash at the box office, suddenly zombie movies were cool again, then came Dawn of the Dead (2004) and blamo, that film decided zombie films would be around for a while, cause dammit, apparently the general population can’t get enough of the undead. We’ve even got a whole television series based on the living dead! And so, this latest rash of zombie madness has lasted until today, where surprisingly, it is still going strong! Personally, I’m looking forward to World War Z (2013); it looks like it will end up being the mother of all zombie movies; here’s hoping!
Zombie movies that come from abroad, like say Europe or
Japan are even
more interesting then American zombie films because they can go further with
the gore and the horror elements. The biggest benefit that European filmmakers
have is that their ratings system isn't as strict as the MPAA, so they don’t have to worry about editing the gore or the violence in
their films as much because they don’t have to cut their movie down to get an ‘R’ or a ‘PG-13’ rating; which of course
translates to far gorier horror films. Examples of this are films like Martyrs
(2008), High Tension (2003), Frontier(s) (2007) and Inside (2007). The last
three films on that list are French horror films inspired by American Horror, funny
thing is that these films took the levels of graphic violence and gore further
then the very films that inspired them, and they are great horror films by the
way, highly recommend any of those films I’ve mentioned above. They are the
cream of the crop of French horror as far as I’m concerned. And so, speaking of
French horror films, today I’ll be reviewing The Horde; a zombie film that
comes to use from two first time French filmmakers Yannick Dahan and Benjamin
Rocher. All I gotta say is wowzers, what a debut!
Same as in many zombie films, The Horde does not give a full blown crystal clear explanation about how the zombies got here, the zombies simply show up and we have to deal with them. In this case, the story centers around a very disparate group of strangers who suddenly find themselves trapped at the top of an apartment building; depending on each other to survive the zombie menace. Problem is that the group of people couldn’t be any more different from each other, some are gangsters, others are the policemen that were going to perform a raid on said gangsters and others are simply civilians who live in the building. So the gangsters and the cops have to put their differences aside so they can deal with the zombies, question is: will they? On top of all that, they can’t simply walk out of the building because every hallway and staircase of the building is populated by hordes of zombies! What to do? What to do?
The thing about The Horde is that it goes step by step through the zombie movie formula, and if you’ve seen a lot of zombie films, then there’s not much on this one that you haven’t seen before. We get the group of humans who hate each other, which is something that George Romero loved to do with his own zombie films, to make the humans more villainous than the zombies themselves, to portray the humans as their own worst enemies. On this one it’s Gangsters vs. Cops and the white man vs. the black man, which of course brings Night of the Living Dead (1968) to mind. We have one of the good guys turn into a zombie, we have the lonely zombie who breaks into the house, we have the scene where the good guys find a stash of weapons, we have the good guy who sacrifices himself for the good of the team, the asshole who turns into a hero and last but not least, the good guys looking at the apocalypse from the roof of a building. For Christ’s sake, all we needed to complete the zombie cliché list was a scene with the good guys writing “Alive Inside!” on the roof of the building. So yeah, there’s that “been there done that” feeling to the film, but in spite of all this, did The Horde manage to bring anything new to the table? Does it at the very least entertain? That’s a very resounding HELL YEAH! This zombie movie rocked!
What I enjoyed the most about the film is how excessive it is. It really goes overboard with its themes. Where an American film might restrain itself with the amount of stabbings that a character will inflict upon a zombie, on this film the character stabs a zombie 30 times and they will show the 30 stabs. If a character is going to fight a zombie, the fight is extensive and gruesome. When a character is confronted with a horde of zombies…trust me, things get gory. Wanna see an old man blow a horde of zombies away with a huge ass machine gun? Look no further! By the way, this reminds me, The Horde has one of the most memorable zombie sequences on any zombie film EVER! This is great because every zombie movie should have at least one memorable scene, but this scene I’m talking about really takes the taco as one of the best. I’m speaking of course of the scene where one of the characters is surrounded by hundreds of zombies all around him and he goes nuts with his guns and his machetes…truly awesome, I double dare any true zombie fan out there not to clap by the time that scene is over. But there are many moments like that one on this film which is really what makes it stand out. They went out of their way to shock us, so kudos to these filmmakers for aiming for that and achieving it gloriously. The film might be walking on tired ground, but it does so with gruesome gusto.
Best Zombie Scene Ever!
Once again French horror has kicked American horrors ass. The Horde did everything you’d see in an American horror film but with that much more blood and violence. Save for a dull moment near the middle of the film where characters start talking about their own personal experiences and view points about the zombie apocalypse, most of the film is filled with none stop gore and action, as a horror fan and a zombie fan, I walked away both surprised and pleased. I say give this film a chance; if you love your zombie movies gory and violent, you will end up loving it. In my book, this is truly awesome zombie film that deserves more exposure. So this is an emergency broadcast from The Film Connoisseur to all those zombie loving fiends out there: go rent/buy this movie now!
Rating: 4 out of 5