When Michael went to go drop off the set of keys for his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, the last thing he expected was to get stuck inside her place during a zombie outbreak.
I’m almost positive that God invented dating as a cruel joke on human, and zombie, kind. Well, maybe not God, but the lord of the underworld, dude is known for his extremely wicked sense of humor that borders on the downright evil. I’d put it on Cthulhu, but I don’t think he’s much of the social type, preferring instead to sleep in his little underwater play land and wait for racist authors to help drive people crazy. Don’t get me wrong, dating can be awesome when you find the right person, you’ll still have issues even then from time to time and it’s something you both have to work at, but it’s more than worth it when you’ve found someone that makes you happy. The problem is you have to date a lot of people before you find that person because there are a lot of people in the world, and some of the people you have to date, whether that be a onetime deal or a yearlong process, turn out to be downright insane, leading to the type of scenarios that only happen in television sitcoms, horror specials, and Lifetime Channel movies. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. Please, raise your hand if you’ve never gone out with at least one psychopath in your life. Damnit imaginary person in the back of the class, put your freaking hand down. I know I’ve dated enough of them to make me wonder how I never ended up as the basis behind an episode of Law and Order. I’ve had weapons used against me, faced psychological torture, and been poisoned a time or two, though that first one I might have deserved on more than a few occasions. You’d think being dead would make dating a lot easier, but it really only complicates things. Thankfully these days I’m no longer on the market so to speak, and I don’t plan on going back on sale anytime in the near future. Just in time too, one more date that led to something being thrown at me and I was liable to destroy my own brain.
Our film begins with a rather awkward man named Michael getting ready to return a set of keys to his ex-girlfriend Gabi. Michael is still in love with the woman and desperately wants to get her back, hoping to use the excuse of returning her keys as an opportunity to win her heart once again. When he makes his way to her upstairs apartment, Gabi isn’t there, and he instead finds a rather angry repair man trying to fix the radiator, or at least he thinks he’s angry. It turns out that he is actually a fast, vicious zombie ready to tear Michael apart. The repairman’s assistant shows up just in the nick of time because the zombie attacks Michael, and it’s only by working together that they are able to trap it outside the apartment. They make their way to a patio overhang and peer down into the apartment complex’s central courtyard where they see zombies running rampant and attacking others. Retreating back into the apartment to listen to news reports, they learn that this epidemic is effecting the entire country. Michael also learns from his new friend that Gabi left shortly before he arrived, meaning she could be out in the city unprotected and there is nothing Michael can do to help her. They aren’t the only ones who found themselves inside the complex when the outbreak began. A few other people survived the initial onslaught as well, all of them communicating by yelling across the courtyard, ignoring the fact that yelling is attracting the zombies into the open courtyard. As thoughts of Gabi’s survival overwhelm poor Michael, the small group of survivors must work together in hopes of outlasting the things desperate to consume their flesh or succumb to the disease as well.
Not being a person very fluent in any language other than English, and even that I only kind of have a grasp on, I had to look up what the title of this German film meant. Apparently “rammbock” means “battering ram” in German, something I’m assuming refers to the fact that a battering ram does figure heavily into the plot later on in the movie. Either that or it refers to how much Michael would have been better utilized as a tool for breaking down doors than a film protagonist. It was an interesting idea to play out a zombie apocalypse as the back drop for a man hoping desperately to get the love of his life back, but Michael was such an annoying, whiny character that he remains very unlikable throughout most of the film. He’s always awkward, and not in a fascinating or endearing way but more like the guy at work whose aloofness always makes you feel uncomfortable, he’s kind of a creeper with his over obsession with Gabi, I understand he wants her back more than anything else in the world but how far he takes it isn’t romantic, it’s creepy, and his character never goes through any kind of real character development. He seems to show a little bit of promise at the end when he risks his own life for people he barely knows, but he quickly reverts to the same spineless character he’s been throughout the entire film. I would have liked to see something done to show Michael growing as the film goes on, but he never really changes, and it kind of made it feel like his entire part as the “hero” of this movie was pointless. I think there was real potential with Rammbock if they had done more with the character of Michael and his overwhelming love for Gabi, but instead, it came across more or less like dozens of other zombie films, a group of people trapped in a building during the zombie apocalypse must try to survive.
On the other hand, the zombies were very well done and original, though this is another film where the zombies are never explicitly stated as being dead or alive, but I’m leaning much more toward them still being alive, just no longer in control of their actions. These zombies are highly affected by adrenaline, in fact that’s what ends up turning them in the end. When the virus reaches the brain, it’s a release of adrenaline that will be the deciding factor in whether they become another zombie. If a person can remain calm long enough instead of going into a panic that pumps them full of adrenaline, then the body’s immune system will eventually fight it off. It added a different level to the film in that people were not only worried about trying to survive the zombies intent on attacking them, but they had to remain calm the entire time as well, even going so far as using sedatives if remaining calm naturally seemed impossible. While Rammbock isn’t much of an effects driven film, choosing instead to focus on what’s going on with the people trapped inside the apartment complex, the makeup was extremely well done. These zombies are very fast and very vicious, and the makeup reflects this by making them look extremely animalistic. They don’t look rotted, but they do look extremely diseased with darkened eyes, spider webbing veins, and blood soaked mouths. The gore looked just as great too. Don’t expect a lot of gore mind you, just a few chunks of flesh torn out here and there, but it does look excellent when it’s shown.
Rammbock does have its faults, but it’s not an overall terrible film. I don’t think you have to race out and find it, but if you get the chance, I’d give it a watch. Having a run time of only sixty three minutes, at least you don’t have to worry about investing too much of your time.
The Undead Review
Directed By: Marvin Kren (Trio, Blood Glacier)
Starring: Michael Fuith (Blood Glacier, Michael), Theo Trebs (A Coffee in Berlin, The White Ribbon), and Anka Graczyk (The 11th Hour, Berlin Junction)
Written By: Benjamin Hessler (Trio, Blood Glacier), and Marvin Kren (Zum Beispiel Praterstern, Blood Glacier)
Released By: Bloody Disgusting, Collective Digital Studios, Filmgalerie 451, Moneypenny, and ZDF
Release Year: 2010
Release Type: Theatrical Release
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Rotten Heads: Two and a Half Heads Out of Five