I have 478 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
What’s the movie? The Horde (2009)
What’s it rated? Unrated for a pessimistic view of human nature, a thousand (un)dead zombies and enough mayhem to choke a person used to abnormally large doses of mayhem.
Did people make it? Written by Arnaud Bordas, Yannick Dahan, Stephane Moissakis, Benjamin Rocher and Nicolas Peufallit. Directed by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher. Acted by Jean-Pierre Martins, Claude Perron, Eriq Ebouaney, Jo Prestia, Doudou Masta, Antoine Oppenheim and Yves Pignot.
What’s it like in one sentence? A shit ton of zombies in an apartment building versus a handful of crooks and a smaller handful of cops.
Why did you watch it? PintelGuy recommended it, plus it’s a French zombie movie so I didn’t see too much of a downside.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Four cops attend the funeral of one of their own and hatch a plan to get revenge on the Nigerian drug dealers that killed him. The bad guys are located several floors up in an apartment building filled with regular folk as well as gun toting, drug dealing villainous types. The cops put on ski masks and bullet proof vests and bum rush the compound in hopes of dealing out a little bit of frontier justice, only when their plan goes horribly awry, they get captured by the dealers. But, before they can be executed, fucking zombies show up out of nowhere and surround the building with their fast running, flesh tearing selves. Can the cops and crooks stop from killing each other long enough to fight the zombie horde, or will paranoia, infighting and vengeance be their ultimate downfall?
Play or remove from my queue? It depends on where you’re at with the whole Zombie movie deluge. If you’re sick of zombies and everything related to their stinky, green toothed ways then The Horde isn’t going to do anything to bring you back into the fold. However, if you’re like me and just can’t get enough of those shambling bastards then you could do much worse than this French bloodbath of intimate, yet epic proportions. It’s not perfect by any means but it’s a damn good way to spend 90 minutes of your time that you would have spent on something less cool like playing with your kids or writing the great American novel.
All the acting is uniformly tight but in some respects the actors do more than the script really warrants. The film opens at the funeral for a cop we never met who died in a way we’re not ever fully informed of. The po-lice that get revenge for him are a giant, bald redshirt, a cowardly one, the handlebar mustachioed hero and the dead cop’s preggo ex-ladyfriend. We barely get to know these guys at all. It’s one scene of mourning a fallen comrade and the next is their assault on the apartment building. We don’t see the relationship these cops have with each other outside of vigilante justice, so when some of them start dying (spoiler?) and they cry and mourn for good chunks of screentime, we’re left to wonder why the hell all of the whining shit is taking so long. In other words, the actors sell their deep feelings for their fellow officers, but the script never really gives us a view of their relationships, so we don’t care and we’re left wondering when the zombies will start eating faces again.
Script issues aside, the movie is damn entertaining with some of the best zombie set pieces I can remember seeing in years. Hero cop decides he is going to buy the other survivors some time so they can escape and posts himself on top of a car with two Glocks and a machete. What ensues is the best one versus a hundred zombie fights since poor Lionel Cosgrove had a room full of zombies to kill and only a lawnmower to facilitate said killings. It’s a real show stopper of a sequence that just goes to show you that when the French do horror films (regardless of how basic the set up is) there is always at least one big set piece or moment that makes the film worth watching and remembering.
It’s nice to watch a zombie movie with a budget because I’m getting really burnt out on people having $800.00 and some cute friends and deciding the only possible genre they can make a film in is the undead and hungry one. Obviously there have been some amazing low budget zombie movies in the past but it seems like in the last decade filmmakers have forgotten that if you want to make a great zombie film and have shit for money, you need to bring an interesting directorial aesthetic and vision to it or it’s going to look flat and feel endless, regardless of how many gallons of Karo syrup and exposed breasts you have. The Horde feels like time, attention and money went into the making of it so all the sets feel lived in, the zombies look scary as shit and the actors are fully committing to all the running and screaming and jumping (Hoyvin-Glavin!).
The Horde doesn’t do much to add to the genre but is does just enough to make you sit up and pay attention. Mostly it’s just fun and fast paced and doesn’t make you think about how underdeveloped some of the characters are or why the female cop is so intensely unlikable (seriously, she’s horrible). But there’s always stuff to bitch about when it comes to these types of films and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If people started making perfect zombie movies then I’m sure we’d start getting a rain of frogs and our babies would get boils on their soft little faces. Sometimes the warts in these movies are what endears them to us in the first place. As good as Army of Darkness is, would you love it as much if you couldn’t see the springboards launching the stunt men into the air after an explosion? Probably, but it helps. Put this movie in your queue while it lasts and let it take your mind off of all the bullshit. That’s what it’s here for.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? Ugh. The guy who played The Tapeworm in Irreversible (Jo Prestia) is in this and he just oozes this disgusting, rapey vibe that made me want to fast forward the film every time he spoke. He is either a fantastic actor or a giant piece of shit. Either way, I think I need less of him on my telelvisual screen.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Why? Fronteirs (very similar feel and both have Xavier Gens in common), Bloody Mallory (there’s no way that’s a good movie), Sheitan (Vincent Cassel will save us all), Hard Revenge Milly (a 43 minute Japanese bloodfest?) and Dead Snow (equally fun and flawed).
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? Why? 28 Weeks Later (derp), Cemetery Man (cuz), Mulberry Street (umm), Pontypool (shhhhh) and The Crying Game (yep).
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.0
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 3.4
Can you link to the movie? I sure can!
Any last thoughts? You’ll know from the cover whether you want to see it or not. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel but it pushes it uphill quite nicely.
Did you watch anything else this week? I watched Game of Thrones over and over again. I’m calling it the best series of 2011 so far by a longshit. Tomorrow I’m going to see The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition in the theatre and I’m half mast just thinking about it.
Next Week? The Warlords or Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype? No more decisions for me today.