The zombie apocalypse is at hand! With the proliferation of books, films, video games and even TV shows in recent months--there is no escape from the marauding undead in contemporary entertainment. And now France is jumping into the fray with the ultra-violent "The Horde." Shot in the gritty style of a 70's era crime melodrama, "The Horde" is a relentless and brutal exercise in zombie mayhem. If you enjoy action combined with horror, "The Horde" is far from a bad picture--but, in the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure that it has much new to offer the genre. As someone obsessed with zombie lore (and what's not to adore about those flesh eating lugs?), I want to say I loved "The Horde" and yet I'm left giving it only a qualified recommendation. If you like zombie pictures, you may like "The Horde"--but if it's not your typical fare, there are far better films to whet your appetite for blood and guts.
Set in a mostly abandoned apartment building, four cops seek a little street justice after one of their own has been murdered by a Nigerian crime boss. Taking on his violent gang is only the first obstacle on what becomes an increasingly harrowing night. In the midst of some hysterically overwrought cops versus criminal confrontations, corpses start to reanimate. Soon the survivors from both groups must tentatively put away their differences with the goal of survival. It seems the entire city has suddenly been overrun, but don't expect any sort of explanation--you pretty much have to take things at face value. Luckily, our group is well armed and it's an all out war within the confines of the isolated building. The gore is plentiful, a ridiculous amount of bullets fly, and there is more hand to hand combat than seems wise! The action sequences are exceedingly brutal, but well staged and executed with ferocity.
My tepid recommendation stems from several factors. The characters are rather unappealing as a bunch and their constant arguing takes its toll on the viewer, becomes repetitive, and distracts from the more immediate danger posed by the ravenous horde. There is no zombie backstory, the humans are overblown and underdeveloped, and the minimalist plotting lacks any real originality. The entire film consists of "let's get out of the building." For warriors, our ragtag group of survivors is surprisingly dim about recognizing the need for head shots too!
In summation, I just felt like I'd seen it all before. The visual style is the most compelling aspect of "The Horde." There is a moment near the end of the film where one man holds a position in the parking garage and is surrounded by hundreds of zombies. This one sequence is so alive and exciting, it made me reflect on what was missing from the rest of the film. I enjoyed "The Horde" and got a chuckle at the last scene--I just didn't love it. So if this is your "thing"--by all means, check it out. "The Horde" was ultimately just a little thin and familiar (for me) to rank with the greats. KGHarris, 10/10.