Director – Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher
Cast – Jean-Pierre Martins, Claude Perron, Eriq Ebouaney, Aurélien Recoing, Doudou Masta, Antoine Oppenheim, Jo Prestia, Yves Pignot, Adam Pengsawang
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I was pretty stoked to finally give this film a watch due to France’s showing of great horror talent(Them(Ils), Martyrs, Inside, High Tension) of recent years, and the fact that France has yet to put out a solid zombie film, and I had a good feeling that this would be “it”. Well, I can say that not only did this film supply France with its first solid zombie effort, but it came much better than I predicted with tons of gory action and horror goodness all-around.
When a group of officers go rogue in an attempt to avenge the death of one of their who was killed by a prominent criminal, the officers find themselves outmanned, outgunned, and facing certain death. However, when a horde of maniacal zombies make their way to the condemned high-rise building containing the warring cops and thugs, the devout enemies are forced to join forces and fight off an apocalyptic zombie invasion.
It is rare that France gives us a simple, no-brainer horror film, as most of them are quite complex and consist of numerous twists and turns, but that is not the case with The Horde. Do I mind it? Not one bit! No-brainer horror films are reminiscent of the enjoyable horror films that put the horror first and everything else second, and The Horde does so with brilliance.
I loved the idea of officers taking vengeance into their own hands, finding themselves in an unfavorable (and deadly) situation, and then finding themselves in an even deadlier situation where they must join up with the very people they went to kill in order to survive. The idea is not necessarily a new one, but it works well and provides good conflict aside from the zombie carnage. It does not take long before the zombie carnage kicks in, and that left me wondering if things would slow down for too long during the second act, but that was not the case. The moment the zombie carnage kicks in we are given a full-frontal kick to the face of non-stop zombie action that never relents for more than a few minutes at a time. Our characters are forced to move about the run-down apartment complex in hopes of staying alive and ahead of the bloodthirsty running zombies, which provides an enjoyable nowhere-to-run scenario when the viewer is given a look at the massive horde of zombies waiting to make their way into the complex. During the down times between zombie attacks the tension remains high as our characters bicker and quarrel with one another, and some good fun and humor are added thanks to a quirky old man who joins in on the action. Speaking of the action, if you enjoy lots of gunfire, tons of gore, make-shift weapons, and hand-to-hand combat then you won’t find yourself not entertained with this one.
Directors Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher did a mostly positive job executing this flick, ensuring that the horror and zombie carnage were at full potential, and they were. Some may balk at the usage of running zombies, but given that they were expertly executed I found myself enjoying them very much, despite the blasphemy some purists will claim. On another note, these are in fact zombies, and not “infected”, as they are technically “living dead” who were possibly track stars before their demise. Plenty of gore is thrown into the film, which I found heavily enjoyable, and while we don’t get any creative or “cool” kills we are at least given tons of well-executed action that never relents. What surprised me though was how these Frenchmen filmmakers delivered the usual action cliches of guns that do not run out of ammunition until 50 shots or so are fired, despite having normal capacity magazines. This is not necessarily a fault as it only played into the fun cheezyness of the film, but nonetheless it was surprising to see a modern day French horror film with such a cliché. The apocalyptic scenes were great and definitely made their mark on the film, with excellent execution employing hundreds upon hundreds of “extras” to plague the complex and deliver supreme gory havoc. Being that this was their first full-length directorial and writing effort(although other writers were used), Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher gave us one of the most fun zombie films of recent day, and I applaud them for that.
Overall, The Horde is another great modern day horror film from France that this time tackles the zombie sub-genre with awesome results. The story is a simple one and does not require much thought, but it allows for directors Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher to deliver supreme zombie carnage resulting in tons of gore, and lots of action supplied by nonstop gunfire and ass-kicking from our protagonists.