June 10, 2013

The Horde

Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher, 2009

          In this French Zombie film, a small group of cops decide to raid a condemned apartment building where a group of gangsters are holding one of their own hostage. When they get into the building, they have to battle more than just gangsters.
          Okay, so there are a number of factors that go into making a zombie film nowadays and a lot of those details have a big impact on how effective the film will be. It's unarguably an over-saturated genre and there are certainly more losers than winners. One, how fast do they move? In this? Fast. Very reminiscent to the fast-moving zombies in 28 Days Later. Actually, they closely resemble those zombies than any other film in the genre. Two, are they actually scary? Yes. Very. Three, do the living know what they are dealing with, and do they attempt to fight them off in a manner that's original? Absolutely. Actually quite originally. What is appealing in this is their absolute inability to actually take them down. They have no idea why the dead are suddenly rising and why bullets seem to do nothing against them. Are there twists in the plot that will set this film apart from EVERY other zombie film? Eh, not really but that's okay. The world falling apart around them, how realistic is it? Because it focuses on the events unfolding in the building itself, the explosion-filled skies and the distant booms become more of a backdrop.
          The Horde succeeds in the sense that it doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. It know's exactly what it is and doesn't try to be anything else. It focuses on the style and not so much on the substance. The story itself doesn't carry a lot of weight, nor does it really need to. Sure, it adds an interesting dynamic in the sense that the humans don't even like each other let alone whats on the other side of the door. But the tension between them seems to dissipate to a point where it's not so evident. The "OH SHIT" scenes where they find themselves cornered, while predictable, are still suspenseful and are well-crafted. The scene with Ouessem (Jean-Pierre Martins) standing on top of the car was beautifully orchestrated and well-shot. The film is very similar to The Raid Redemption except it's taking a converse trajectory. These people are trying to make their way DOWN the steps to the first level to get out of the building, not even focusing on what they are actually going to have to confront when they get out of the condemned building. One of the most thought-provoking concepts with the zombie genre are the constant moral dilemmas. There's also the common questions that go through your head while watching. You're likely going to gravitate to a specific character during the film. Is he/she going to make it to the end? And even if they do, what kind of world are they going to be living in? Do they even want to be living in it? Life seems awfully cheap when you see people around you falling rapidly and your very existence hinges on you simply not tripping over your own feet.

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