The Horde


Add one part gangster, one part cop, and three parts zombie and what do you get…the guarantee of a very brutal movie.

I don’t very much like “gangster” types, but not for the reasons you might expect. I dislike them for one reason and one reason alone…their penchant for firing automatic weapons with very little skill. Unfortunate zombies who cross paths with gangsters often end up shot everywhere but the head. Do you know how much that can suck? If we meet the bullet, nail studded board, or baseball bat that’s fated to connect with our skull then so be it, that’s just something you have to accept when you’re a member of the living dead. Having your entire body covered in bullet holes on the other hand is unacceptable. It leaves a zombie little more than a destroyed mess nearly unable to function, and that is a zombie’s only real fear, not true death but having to lay there until someone finally puts you out of your misery. Just, you know, if you’re going to shoot at us can you at least aim for the head please. Have a heart will you? I’ve got like three in my drawer if you need.

Our story begins with the death of a French police officer at the hands of a brutal African crime lord living in Paris. His surviving partners refuse to rest until the men responsible for their friend’s death are punished. They concoct a plan to infiltrate the crime lord’s slum apartment building and kill each and every member of the man’s gang. The plan meets a few unexpected bumps though, and the police officers end up the unwilling guests of the criminal leader instead of his executioner, leading to the deaths of two of their not so covert group. What none of them are aware of is that while their small battle was commencing, Paris was succumbing to the effects of a zombie apocalypse, an apocalypse that quickly rushes toward them. With no way out of the building and an entire horde of the undead around them, criminal and cop must come together if they expect to survive through the night, but all involved will soon find that old grudges are sometimes harder to kill than the undead.


{Grudges often times look like a bullet to the face}

France is a country that has really impressed me with some of the films they’ve come out with, from the acid trip that was City of Lost Children to the insanity that was Inside to the stunningly horrific Martyrs to the dark comedy of Man Bites Dog, they know how to grab the viewer and draw them deeply into a not only visually stylistic world but one that retains all the complexity, and at the same time simplicity, of real life. The Horde continues this tradition with a great movie that stands above the plethora of zombie films flooding the market.


{Every zombie film needs at least one of this guy}

The thing that got me the most was the film’s pace and buildup. The Horde was masterful at building up everything in the film (action, violence, and blood) and as this buildup increases so does the pace. It actually starts out a little slow but, much like good sex, the pace grows quicker as the movie goes on until it literally explodes (I really did not start this sentence intending it to sound like a sexual metaphor) into absolute chaos. What was so great about it was that the pace quickens so gradually and with such finesse that you really don’t even realize the movie’s barreling toward the above mentioned chaos until it actually happens. There’s also the buildup of tension inside the group that grows along with the film’s pace. The two sides despise each other and would easily kill one another if it wasn’t for the zombie menace choking the outside of the building. Still, even knowing that fracturing apart could mean the death of everyone inside the building, the group is constantly on the verge of ending each other before the zombies can even get to them. You can almost feel their hostility, and as it grows you’ll find yourself nearly on the edge of your seat waiting to see who’s going to fire the first shot. I thought the conflict and struggle within the group of lawmen and criminals was done perfectly and the actors they choose to help show that struggle handled their characters like true artists and I applaud them for being able to really push the animosity level to its extreme.


{When zombies are breaking down the doors, animosity can be as deadly as the dead}

The effects are another great aspect of this film and show that with a little elbow grease and a whole lotta love, you can make some great gore WITHOUT CGI. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that just won’t work with CGI (Transformers 2, one of my favorite movies, would have been impossible without it, yes I am an absolute nerd on top of being among the living dead) but it doesn’t need to be used for everything, and The Horde is a great example of that. There are a few CGI moments, and I have no problem with those moments, but when they didn’t have to use computers they didn’t and the results were amazing. I’d even say that the scarcity of CGI made its infrequent use more stunning as there were some intense and fantastical scenes that were improved upon by CGI, and they really blew me away as amazing scenes. Had the movie been full of computerized effects, I don’t think those scenes would have had the same impact.


{This crazy bastard, who was easily my favorite character in the film, needs no CGI for the chaos he causes}

With the exception of the play between criminal and cop, most of the story is fairly standard for a zombie flick, a group of people trapped inside a building while the undead try and force their way inside, however, once that lovely, lovely chaos begins, it takes a sharp left turn with some of the craziest scenes in zombie cinema, things only ever previously seen in video games. I really can’t give them away, but trust me when I say they are fucking insane (including one of the greatest last stands I’ve ever seen in a zombie flick).


{Just a little hint of said last stand}

There is something that may bother a few people (though not myself personally). Depending on where you watch it, you may have to have subtitles as not all versions have dubbing. If you’re the type that needs to have the dubbing on, then look for the newer DVD’s and avoid Netflix watch instantly but if you’re okay with subtitles, which will probably give you a better understanding of what’s going on anyway, than try and watch this one A.S.A.P., you won’t be disappointed.


The Undead Review


Directed By: Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher

Starring: Jean-Pierre Matins (Empire of the Wolves, In Gold We Trust), Claude Perron (The Red Knight, Chrysalis), and Eriq Ebouaney (Thirst, Ca$h)

Released By: Capture the Flag Films and IFC Films

Release Year: 2009

Release Type: Theatrical Release in Europe but Straight to Video in America

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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