Thursday, 23 September 2010

THE HORDE DVD review

Out now on DVD is this French flick about a horde of inner-city zombies.
More after the jump...


Seeking revenge for one of their fallen comrades, a group of vigilante police officers plan a raid against his killer, a deadly gangster situated at the top of an abandoned apartment building. Unfortunately, this poorly timed and poorly executed attempt at justice has managed to coincide with a zombie apocalypse, so the two sides must team up to fend of the hordes of walking undead.


This French film starts of as a traditional 'bust gone wrong' story, with some of the officers near-fatally wounded by the heavily armed and dangerous bad guys. It's when the dead hostages start coming back from the dead that they realise something's seriously wrong with the situation. There's no explanation for this zombie outbreak, but if you remember the Euro-tinged ending of 28 Weeks Later, this film could easily be picking up where that film left off.


The zombies come thick and fast, and as the group work their way back down through this dilapidated building, they encounter more and more flesh-hungry biters. Taking clear inspiration from Assault on Precinct 13 and 28 Days Later, the baddies and the not-quite-so baddies must work together if they're going to have any chance of survival in this tower of death, but old feuds and sibling rivalries soon cause the group to turn on one another.


The cops are lead by Ouessem (Jean-Pierre Martins), a slightly chunky French beefcake armed with a machete and a handlebar moustache. He's eager for revenge against Ade (Eriq Ebouaney), but sees that he's dog food without his help. Ade is an eloquent gangster, combining his penchant for violence with a clear intellect; quite the opposite of his brother, second in command and unable to deal with this high pressure situation.


It's the infighting that keeps this zombie tale ticking over, and with differing priorities, old loyalties are constantly pushed to breaking point. Grieving Aurore (Claude Perron) has the most interesting and emotional story, as she is forced into transforming from vengeful passenger in the group to ass-kicking zombie killer, providing a lot of the action. You can add her to the list of strong female leads in horror films.


The zombies are well produced, and the make-up and special effects work effectively well within the film's lower budget. The building the film is set in certainly brings the dank, although it's pretty clear that each floor they pass through is the same place, merely re-dressed. There's macho face-offs galore, and in the shape of a scene-stealing portly old pensioner who joins the group, a certified maniac armed to the teeth with uzi's.


Restricted slightly by its budget but saved by some magnificently bravado performances and set pieces, this is a grubby looking gallic gore-fest that will please zombie fans.


Verdict

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