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The Horde (2009)

  Tags: action, Benjamin Rocher, blood, foreign, france, french, gangs, gore, la horde, the horde, undead, walking dead, Yannick Dahan, Zombie Movies

Your rating: None Average: 6.2 (11 votes)
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Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher
90 minutes
Eriq Ebouaney, Jean-Pierre Martins, Jo Prestia, Claude Perron, Alain Figlarz, Doudou Masta

France has become quite the country to rely on when it comes to bloody and hyper-violent horror flicks, so when word came down that the genre was going to get a zombie film from'em naturally it was met with a lot of high expectations. The Horde is a movie that I've been anticipating since I first heard of it a couple years back and finally having seen the pic, it pains me to say that it left me rather disappointed...

Fueled with revenge over the death of a fellow police officer, a small group of corrupt cops decide to infiltrate a rundown apartment building, where the gang that killed their comrade are holed up at. However, the bad blood between the two groups is put on hold when they realize that the recently deceased are re-animating and looking to take a bite outta some living flesh.

This is far from a bad film, but it isn't particularly a good one either. We fans have grown to expect very little as far as story goes within the zombie sub-genre, but the "story" in this film is almost non-existent. The brief plot-outline I gave above is pretty much the entire story. We also receive absolutely no information as to why these people have become zombies.

This isn't exactly uncommon, but we're usually at least given some minor clues that leave us to our own conclusions as to how things came to be. In this movie things just are and we have to simply accept that. There's a scene early on that has our leads looking over the seemingly chaotic city from a distance depicting that it's also happening outside the apartment complex, but none of what's happening on the outside is explored more than that.

There's a lot of lost potential here, as it could have been a truly great film. For instance, there's no sense of urgency or tension that you'd expect it to have. Yes, the groups are trapped in the building and are looking for a way out, but we don't really feel as though the situation is as dire as it should've been.

There are many scenes in the middle where the leads seem kind of relaxed, just fending off against a few zombies, then spending the next 15-or-so minutes talking and assessing the situation before they encounter a couple more zombies. At least with [Rec] (another film set primarily in an apartment building) they offered a lot of tension and captured the claustrophobic no-way-out situation perfectly. They never really had much chance to catch a breath like the characters in this movie did.

The leads really don't encounter an actual "horde" of zombies until towards the end, which (aside from the beginning) is the strongest and offered the most fuel-intense scenes. On a more positive side of things, the film had few cool characters and scenes, like one guy that takes on a some zombies with his bare hands and another scene towards the end with one dude fending off against dozens of zombies with only a couple hand guns and a machete.

Probably the best character in the movie is an old man that the group encounters later on that had been taking out zombies with an axe, however we don't get to see him use the axe anymore after that point since he eventually replaces it with a badass .30 cal machine gun! Sadly, we're given little-to-no character development for any of these characters.

The look of the zombies is what you'd expect from the modern-day fast-running undead. With the exception of the first zombie they encounter, they're all pretty standard, offering no real characteristics that separate one from the other. For some unknown reason the directors decided to do some sort of fast-motion effect with the  zombies in a couple scenes that just seemed unnecessary and out of place. Luckily they don't use that method much.

All negative aside, it's still a fairly entertaining pic, giving us a good amount of blood and violence that we've come to expect from France. It's a nice adrenaline ride towards the end, which makes up for a lot of the pacing issues encountered in the middle. Though, the movie does suffer from a rather poor ending, I can only hope that the filmmakers peruse a sequel that'll delve more into the origin of the zombie infestation.

The film gives us some cool characters and scenes, but lacks the creativity and atmosphere that it could've had.  With a non-existent story, pacing issues in the mid-mark and a poor ending, the movie's only redeeming values are the more fuel-intense scenes in the beginning and the end. Worth a check for zombie fans, as it's a decent flick, but don't expect much as far as originality or creativity goes.

Posted on May 22, 2010 - 7:31pm | FrighT MasteR