The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Ben Austwick [Film Festival 09.08.09] France zombies movie review horror

Year: 2009
Directors: Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher
Writers: Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Ben Austwick
Rating: 6 out of 10

Another day, another zombie movie. They're like the zombie hordes themselves - trudging, identical and overwhelming in number. Each one carries a glimmer of hope that it is going to do something different, rewrite a recipe that has changed little since Romero's definitive movies, but despite a few cosmetic changes we keep getting served up the same old thing. The Horde recognises its limitations and attempts to hone rather than change the formula, but it's all so familiar even that doesn't work - though if you're a fan of the genre and think the formula is a winning one, you're probably going to like this film a lot.

Despite the presence of a token female cast member The Horde is very much a man's film, violent, adrenaline-fueled and set in the tough, gruff-voiced world of cops and gangsters. The police are presented as little more than a street gang themselves as they descend on a ruinous, abandoned banlieue of concrete tower blocks to avenge the killing of one of their colleagues. The formidable gang they plan to lay waste to have their headquarters at the top of one of the blocks, holed up in an apartment with the arsenal of a small army. The two groups clash in a blistering shoot-out that sets the pace for the film, with all the deafening shotgun blasts and quick-fire editing of the modern day action movie.

The warring groups are inexplicably set about by zombies, the only hint at an explanation given being a shot from the rooftop of the tower block of distant fires and explosions in the city. The build-up to this rather tame vista, as the cast stare goggle-eyed and open mouthed while the music soars to a ridiculous crescendo, is symptomatic of The Horde's annoying use of overdramatic cinematic cliches to set the tone for often mediocre scenes. The film's score, cheesy, loud and intrusive, similarly overdramatises what should be a more knowingly fun film.

The Horde's zombies are vicious and many, but wearily familiar beasts, offering up nothing new either in their attacks or the way they are dispatched. A couple of scenes stand out from the rest, one in particular, the torture and sexual torment of a female zombie that is likened to the abuse carried out in African war zones, being an exciting and original use of the rather commonplace subject matter. These scenes are rare though, and as we follow the police and gang members as they attempt to escape from the besieged tower block, a lengthy lull in the middle of the film while they hook up with one of the block's few remaining residents suggests that novel zombie-based situations were pretty hard to come by.

Things do pick up in a series of explosive scenes towards the end, but despite The Horde's high body count, testosterone-fueled action and propensity for violence, it is simplistic, shallow and doesn't offer much new. Destined to be lost amongst the hordes of zombie movies that will become associated with noughties horror, it is a familiar and unexceptional addition to the genre.

You might also like

Leave a comment