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Overall Rating
3.78

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look77.78%
Just Average: 22.22%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 3 user ratings



Horde, The
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by Jay Seaver

"Zombie, cops, and drug dealers all die hard."
4 stars

SCREENED AT TERRORTHON 2010: For a while, every action movie of a certain type was described using the shorthand "'Die Hard' in a ____". For better or worse, when someone said that, the audience knew what they were going to get, even if it likely wasn't anywhere close to as good as that film. About the only subgenre more rigidly defined is the zombie movie - "____ are thrown together when the zombie pandemic breaks out". Barring an especially creative twist, those types of movies each come down to execution. That's the case with "The Horde", which is a little bit of both: Filmmakers Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher seem to have pitched the broad strokes more than the details, but still make a fairly entertaining movie.

A good cop by the name of Rivoallan (Laurent Segall) has just died, and a few members of his unit aren't planning on taking it sitting down - they're planning an off-the-books raid on the gang that killed him. Jiminez (Aurelien Recoing), Aurore (Claude Perron), and Tony (Antoine Oppenheim) are out for blood, although Ouessem (Jean-Pierre Martins) assures the deceased's mother that he's going along to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. Their target: A tenement in which Nigerian drug dealer Adewale Markudi (Eriq Ebouaney) is holed up, along with his brother Bola (Doudou Masta), partner Greco (Jo Prestia) and a number of henchman. Just when one side thinks they've got the upper hand, the informant that Adé had just killed gets up and comes at them, and when they look out the window, they see fires in the distance and a mob of the undead surrounding the building. The only other living soul in the building is nutty old veteran René (Yves Pignot), and the possibility of escape seems slim at best.

Compact that description a bit, and The Horde starts to sound like a French-language version of Versus, although the problem with Ryuhei Kitamura's calling card was that he didn't know when to stop (zombies vs. yakuza vs. cops was just where it started). Rocher, Dahan, and their co-writers don't run wild like that, although "restrained" wouldn't be the right word for this movie either - it's fast-moving, with some big action scenes and a sense of humor that's more than a bit politically incorrect. Still, it's one of those movies that is categorized as horror but isn't really scary - because there have been so many of these movies, its zombies are like robots, video game villains that can be wiped out without remorse, rather than something frightening or disturbing. There's suspense, but it's the kind of suspense that comes from a template - which will be the next character picked off, what form of betrayal will split the group apart? - than real dread.

Thus, The Horde plays as an action movie, and it's not a bad one. Dahan and Rocher make their run-down setting an integral part of the action; it dictates what the cops and crooks can do without ever feeling arbitrary. The balance of power shifts often enough to keep the audience guessing a little. Both shootouts and hand-to-hand combat are well-choreographed and bloody, which is actually pretty impressive - there really aren't that many zombie movies that make a fight between the living and the undead work, especially when the protagonists don't have much in the way of firearms and large blades at their disposal (it helps that the infected in this movie are on the fast side).

Prostheses and gore are pretty good, although the lighting sometimes hides just how good. Some of the digital effects aren't quite as good as they could be, perhaps - though the movie is mostly practical effects, there's always something not quite right about the smoke in the background. The entire film has a digital look to it that sometimes seems a little too sharp, although part of that may be from the festival projecting the film from a Blu-ray.

The cast is enjoyable. Jean-Pierre Martins is the obvious lead character from the beginning, and he probably has a little less fun than everybody else, as he's stuck playing the reasonable guy. Aurelien Recoing, on the other hand, gets to play the gruff older cop, while Claude Perron is the tough chick. The villains get to be much more flamboyant - Eriq Ebouaney is obviously smart and calculating as Adé, although there's always a layer of violent ruthlessness there which connects him with Doudou Masta as Bola. Bola isn't nearly as smart, but he makes an entertaining pair with Jo Prestia. Yves Pignot, naturally, gets to be a sort of comic relief as René, who is well-armed and half-senile, often calling the zombies by the racial epithets he would have used during his days in French Indochina.

Rocher and Dahan play "The Horde" by the book, for the most part (although a moment near the end does remind the audience that they are French and can thus be pretty merciless with their horror). They've studied the book fairly well, though, and while they don't add many new pages, there are certainly moments where they demonstrate that they can teach a class on a chapter or two.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=21690&reviewer=371
originally posted: 10/07/10 21:26:27
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User Comments

5/04/11 Jeff G Not bad. Superfluous, but has its moments. 3 stars
4/15/11 damalc very good but could've used more background on zombies' origin. 3 stars
11/17/10 joey johnson Was very goodx to me, worth a watch deftinelly if you love Zombie movies. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  N/A
  DVD: 21-Dec-2010

UK
  17-Sep-2010 (18)

Australia
  N/A (R)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2010




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