Monday, October 31, 2011

The Horde (2009)

Power tripping humans face a horde of zombies

This French action/horror movie doesn't waste time with an overly complex plot. A group of cops want revenge for the murder of one of their men. With ski masks and guns in hand, they head over to an apartment complex at night where the Nigerian leader and his thugs that downed one of their own have their small criminal headquarters. Immediately the plan goes wrong and the cops have a few more holes in them than they did before entering the building. Soon enough flesh eating zombies with speed, strength and a building horde behind them jump into the mix and the guns get instead pointed at their new enemy with the cops and criminals forming a tentative alliance.

At times the tension and dramatic moments are overplayed but a share of them do make this more charging than other zombie films that feel tired. The specific rules are only loosely stated, which makes this a little more chaotic, unpredictable and more bloody as the zombies take on more wounds than they have to. The characters have to not only make it down and out of the building, which might be overrun and without hope, but also have to constantly break up arguments between each other for what's the next move. The performances usually involve posturing antics and yelling as everyone wants to be a leader, along with some confusion and anxiety from both situations taking their toll. They meet an eccentric older man who wields an ax and has some kind of post traumatic stress from war that makes him think people are turning into Asians rather than zombies. It gives this a kind of quirky charm amongst all of the seriousness that nearly turns melodramatic in certain scenes.

This not only has action and violence to keep the audience busy, it's able to maintain a steady momentum and keep the events charged despite being an incredibly basic horror story. It's more gritty and natural than stylish and symmetrically lined up. There are jarring sound effects, such as loud gun shots and roaring zombie noises, along with quick edits that help make the experience more impactful and energetic when need be. The zombies themselves aren't always shown in abundance, that way to portray them as uncertain for their next move. There's some gun blazing as well as hand to hand combat with the zombies that brings out some bloody scenes that cause a share of the walls to drip with red remnants. The old building plays to the advantage of the horror angle with deteriorated decor and furnishings, along with dim lighting and abandoned passageways that could be hiding anything in the hungry dark.

This has a somewhat cold tone compared to other films in the subgenre where the zombies seem to bring out the sadists in the characters at a few points the way they want to injure and maim rather than doing it out of pure survival. There's a message somewhere in there to show those who break the rules have no honor or to show the conflicts aren't always solvable between humans in our modern state if a situation did arise as such. This shifts back and forth with if humans should fight for themselves, stick together like a family or go on a power trip to control another person. The final outcome hits somewhat anticlimactically or just as a set up for another film. "The Horde" doesn't deliver anything brand new. Though it has a tried and true formula that still works because there's a balance between the human interaction as well as the zombie, not to mention some memorable scenes that make this returnable. In a way, it almost feels like an engaging videogame at points that's instead played for you due to the simplicity and sense for uncomplicated interaction.

Rating: 7/10

Director: Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher
Link: IMDB

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