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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Dis List: The Horde (2010) review


Claude Perron (Aurore), Jean Pierre Martins (Ouessum), Eriq Ebouaney (Adewale), Doudou Masta (Bola)

Directed by Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher

The Short Version: Slickly directed, but puerile zombie opus has absolutely zero plot and atrocious dialog. Lots of gore, a massive amount of bullets fired from magical guns that never run out of ammo and a record breaking number of expletives will be enough to endear this ridiculous movie to those who embrace films with hyper camerawork and lots of random action scenes.

A group of vengeance seeking cops team up with the drug dealers they intended to kill when a sudden zombie plague breaks out. Trapped in a high rise, the unlikely and unlikable team snort up a lot of China White and do battle with a horde of marathon running zombies.

As slick and polished as this patience thinning flick looks, it's yet another new and awful horror movie, only this one hails from France, a country that has been creating some ferociously mesmerizing terror tales in recent years; unfortunately, this isn't one of them. Nearly everything about this movie stinks. It's also another film that's been getting a lot of inexplicably positive notices. But upon closer inspection, you'd swear the script was written by Robbie Z and directed by Bruno Mattei. Containing a laughable string of exaggerated instances of jingoism and other examples of macho meanderings, the movie also has an uncomfortable air of racism and a bit of misogyny thrown in for not so good measure. In its defense, though, the one (live) female cast member is as tough as any of the men, but the overall tone is kind of insensitive.

Among the absurdities and 'hand down the chalkboard' level of dialog exchanges, there's a near constant and senseless flood of expletives that grates on the nerves after the first few dozen 'F' bombs and the over reliance on referring to women as 'bitches'. Not to mention this motley clutch of wholly unlikable characters never seem to be able to stop yelling at each other and make these comically overblown faces complete with eyeballs threatening to pop out of their heads. In addition to the intelligible and concise dialog, the zombie outbreak, whose origins are never hinted at, nor explained seems to come out of nowhere. One other thing about the characters, even when they discover that shooting the dead in the head puts the zombies down, the cops and thugs are still content to unload all their bullets everywhere but in the noggins of the hyperactive corpses.

There's also more bullets fired here than probably all four RAMBO movies combined, yet no one ever reloads. It's only at the end that one of the gangsters mentions being out of bullets. Did I mention that not one person has any redeemable qualities in this vacuous excuse of a horror picture? The script (kind of) alludes to some minor political underpinnings, but never explores this area, instead preferring to squander any intelligent speeches on a near endless onslaught of action scenes that get nauseatingly old real fast. Frames are removed to make everyone move like they were in a silent movie. That's "cutting edge", I suppose.

Also, it seems ADHD has spread like a plague to the cinematographers of other countries as they can't seem to keep the damn cameras still, either. For a while now, the "You are there!" documentary feel has been "cutting edge" in American films and television shows for some time now. In THE HORDE, it's difficult to ascertain what's happening sometimes what with the camera zigzagging all over the screen. In between all the blazing guns, bullets flying and chaotic camerawork, there's a handful of close quarters combat sequences where our "heroes" trade punches with the undead. A lot of people may find this stimulating, but it was all stupid and pointless since there's no one to identify with and literally zero story, or reasoning for what's happening. The dead just come to life for whatever reason.

No doubt the single most hilarious scene comes when the brute cop of the bunch decides to fend off 'The Horde' single-handed. What follows is this character football tackling dozens upon dozens of rampaging dead. Hopping atop the roof of a car, he begins shooting and chopping away at the zombies surrounding him. For whatever reason, the hundreds of zombies take what seems like five interminable minutes before they finally grab him and pull him down. The most oddly disturbing scene would have to be when the men surround a zombie female and taunt her/it with rape and other sexual indignities. It's a bizarre segment that seems perplexing for it even being in the film. Like much everything else, it adds absolutely nothing to the already non existent narrative.

The gore and gunfire are plentiful, if only there was something resembling a story, or even remotely engaging characters. Feasible dialog would have been nice, too. However, some fans will eat this movie up for the very same reasons I couldn't keep it down. As it is, THE HORDE is yet another in a long line of seemingly neverending and brainless zombie movies with no apparent end in sight. With rigormortis setting in quickly on this sub genre, it would be nice if producers and film-makers would finally let sleeping corpses lie for a while.

This review is representative of the IFC DVD


Andrei said...

Aye, I pretty much agree with you on this one. I was somewhat disappointed at first, but then I realized that my expectations were all wrong in the first place. Not all foreign horror flicks are great, but ah, how young and naive I am!

Maynard Morrissey said...

one of the better zombie flicks of the last few years. gory, action-packed and highly entertaining. I just love it!

Dr. Sarcofiguy aka "John Dimes" said...

Should I see this first, or Black Swan? I can't DECIDE!

And by the way: You KNOW what a grit is, right? Or are you harkening back to that charmin' film "My Cousin Vinny" with your statement left on a certain alter ego's facebook?! HAHAHAH!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, I tellya!!!!

Shaun Anderson [The Celluloid Highway] said...

I respectfully disagree with you on this one Brian. I thought the film had some very interesting things to say about French society, and used the zombie motif in a far interesting way than Romero has for many a year. The title has a double meaning in my view...check out my review and let me know what you think. I agree with you on certain stylistic and narrative points though. I just felt its subtext raised it above the mire.

venoms5 said...

@ Atroxion: I likely would have enjoyed this one had there been some characters of substance who could speak actual dialog instead of non stop profanity.

@ Maynard: I can understand why some would like this movie, unfortunately, I'm not one of them. It can be the bonafide worst movie every, but if there's at least one character of interest for whatever reason, then I tune in. If all your film has to offer is a bunch of pretty Americanized action scenes with a nervous camera operator, I tune out.

@ The Doc: I'm not familiar with BLACK SWAN, I'll have to look into that one. LOL! Yes, I know what a grit is, as you said, I was referencing that nutty classic MY COUSIN VINNY! I was hoping you'd catch it, and you did!! Happy New Year Doc!!

@ Shaun: I am unfamiliar with what's going on in France right now, but I could sense some kind of political message, ever so slight as it might have been to me. Still, the dialog was worthless whether you're watching it subbed or dubbed. Constant cursing does nothing to sustain my interest and none of these people were likable at all.

The only reason I watched it to the end was because my girlfriend was with me and, amazingly, she didn't like it either, as she normally goes for the new stuff particularly zombie pictures.

I will be sure to check out your review, Shaun, when I get done with work. I just stopped in for a break. I also saw HARPOON: WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE the same night. It was a lot better than this, but I won't be reviewing that one. It's basically TCM aboard a big ship in Iceland with a huge cast of international victims.

I Like Horror Movies said...

Shaun won me over with his review on Celluloid, so I bumped this up on the ol Netflix list. At least with the mindless action you mentioned, it will make it more entertaining than many of the other boring AND stupid zombie flicks out lately.

venoms5 said...

I came real close to buying this and I am glad I didn't. I would have been pissed. Still, I can see why some would get into it. Flashy action is all it has, at least from my perspective.

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