I rented The Horde on Amazon Instant Video because I always do that with foreign material that has not seen wide or limited release here in the US. My review is based on the merits of the movie itself, not the dvd package and what it contains.
THE GOOD: There are the seeds of what could have been a truly great horror film. There is also lots of action and some humor that should entertain on various levels.
THE BAD: A deeply flawed and underdeveloped script. Confusing direction. Terribly weak characters. To me, those three - script, direction, characters - are the key elements that can make or break any film.
Watching the trailer and reading all the reviews and high ratings here got me excited about this film. I love zombies. I love slow shambling zombies. I love fast hyper agressive zombies. I love all types of zombies. But what I especially love, are well developed zombie stories. This however, is not one. All these reviews are so misleading as to the merits of the film. Below I will explain my problems with the film. I'll include some spoilers.
A group of truly dumb cops, who act more like Mafiosi wannabes, decide to get revenge on a low level criminal hiding in an abandoned high-rise building who killed one of their own in some unseen episode prior to the beginning of the film. These dummies show no police training or discipline whatsoever and instead bicker constantly about family issues. These are supposed to be the good guys by the way. These are the ones we the audience are supposed to root for. I'm all for revenge stories, but the people taking revenge should at least be smart. These people are not. I didn't root for them. And you probably won't either.
Now, the criminals. There are a bunch of them. Just as dumb as the cops and pretty much faceless and nameless, except for three main ones. Two Nigerian brothers with deep emotional issues. I could see a good indie drama film in there, but of course this is a zombie movie so who cares about exploring their emotional issues. And some creepy looking dude from somewhere in Europe. There are also two people who live in the building, the super/caretaker who is another dummy, and this old crazy perverted veteran of some Southeast Asian war.
All these dummies start shooting at each other right away because it seems they have a need for bloodshed. One of the cops says they came for a bloodbath. The blood starts gushing right away from even the tiniest scratch. They should have replaced zombies with vampires and the story would have made more sense. In fact, the zombies seem more like vampires. They are so hyper agressive and difficult to kill that they make the zombies from Zack Snyder's Dawn Of The Dead remake seem slow by comparison. They also have the ability to reason to some extent because they don't just eat the people they attack. They take the bodies and stash them away for later meals.
This is all sort of funny because without any heroes to identify with and root for, you are left with little to do but laugh at how dumb these people are. They are armed to the teeth, but they waste their bullets shooting in every direction expect the zombies' heads. Even if they have never seen zombie movies, everyone knows that if you shoot someone, anyone, living or undead, in the head they will go down. These "hardcore" criminals and vengeful cops are the only ones who don't know that apparently. On top of that they waste precious escape time using martial arts on the hyper agressive vampire zombies.
Then, comes a scene that is so deeply disturbing that you wonder about the mindset of the writers/directors of the film. A woman zombie shows up and runs to attack them. They shoot her legs to keep from coming at them. Then, the younger Nigerian brother, the creepy looking dude and the old perverted veteran taunt her with sexual insults and threaten to rape her. This goes on for quite a while. After the older Nigerian brother shoots her in the head to stop the show, the old perv undresses her to show what a nice body she has. What was the point of this? Why was there a need for this? It's really unsettling that the writers felt the need to insert a scene where the survivors try to sexually humiliate a zombie. I'm not opposed to scenes of such difficult nature, but they should make sense within the context of the story. Like the sexual brutality that takes place in The Divide. It makes sense in that story. It this story it just seems disturbing on the part of the writers.
Overall, with its premise of a group of survivors trapped inside a high-rise fighting off a zombie horde, the film had the potential to be good, but bad script and direction didn't help. And even though the actors are decent, their characters are so weakly written that the film just doesn't have much to offer. Unless your thing is dummy characters who can't shoot zombies in the head and try to molest them. I didn't hate it, but I cannot give it more than 2 stars. Hopefully, someone can remake this properly. I doubt it, but it could be a truly classic horror film if done right.