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STUDIO: The Collective/Vivendi
RUNNING TIME: 64 minutes
- Making of Rammbock
- Zombification Short Film
Oh hurray, another zombie movie. Germany is not exactly known for its tales of the undead (this is actually the country’s first), so Rammbock got some immediate attention when it made the festival rounds last year.
Was it deserved?
Sure! The film is quite decent, but it’s debatable whether they managed to squeeze any last drops of originality out of the genre.
Shaun of the Dead meets Rear Window!
Written by Benjamin Hessler. Directed by Marvin Kren. Acted by Michael Fuith, Theo Trebs, Ingrid Beerbaum and Carsten Behrendt.
Michael (Fuith) goes to see his ex-girlfriend Gabi (Beerbaum) over in Berlin to give her back her keys. You can tell the guy was fairly whipped and is still hopelessly in love, which is exactly why he’s travelling so far to give the keys back when he could have simply mailed them. Maybe he’s still got a chance with her… so long as zombies don’t interfere.
Michael gets to her apartment building at almost the exact minute that a zombie disease starts spreading around the city. His first indication that something is wrong is when he can’t find his ex and instead gets attacked by a plumber working next door. The plumber gets all white eyed and frothy-mouthed and tries to bite Michael, who only escapes with the aid of the guy’s assistant Harper (Trebs). Michael loses his cell phone in the struggle (a ubiquitous plot point in any modern horror film) but manages to barricade himself in his ex-girlfriend’s apartment complex, which looks out onto a courtyard and is facing numerous windows stocked with concerned neighbors.
There they realize that things are much worse than they seem, as everyone in the city is going crazy and biting people to death. Now Michael and Harper have to decide what to do- stay there and hope the zombies don’t bust up the door? Help the neighbors close the gate to the courtyard to protect the apartments? Or will Michael go out and try to find his ex?
When Rammbock starts to get going and it dawns on you that they’ve basically made a zombie-infested Rear Window, you’ll have to admire it. It’s clearly a great decision and you’ll wonder that no one’s done it before, as the neighbor dynamic works completely for the post-apocalypse. After all, if it happened you’d be forced to band together with near-strangers, so why not the people you see all day and hardly acknowledge? The distance between the window-bound characters and the fact that it’s hard for them to really communicate without attracting unwanted attention (zombies have great hearing) makes it even more tense.
The problem is that you don’t know or care about any of these neighbors. The film is barely a feature at 64 minutes but there could easily have been some more quick character development added to the film- just think about that amazing first shot from Rear Window which established nearly every character. The few neighbors you meet all do the same stupid things folks usually do in zombie movies like this- run out to be the hero in the middle of a pack of zombies, try and save their bitten loved one, etc. The film isn’t very scary and has some unintentional humor thanks to this.
But the sense of claustrophobia the film gives is quite nice, as the camera is trapped in the apartment along with Michael. The only views of the outside world are from tv and radio, and soon there’s no idea of what is going on… until he makes his way to the roof, in one great scene.
Rammbock means battering ram in German and while there’s an actual battering ram used in the film, it’s a fitting name for the movie, which has a breakneck pace and running zombies. You know what to expect here, you’ve seen the tropes countless times before. It’s nothing that’s going to rejuvenate the zombie genre and it’s by no means a classic, but it’s a solid little thriller.
There’s a 15 minute behind the scenes featurette and a silly little short film about zombies, as well as a trailer for YellowBrickRoad, the previous Bloody Disgusting Selects release.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars