Review: ‘The Horde’ (La Horde)

The Horde (La Horde) PosterDirected by Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher (2009)

I have one word to describe The Horde. WOW!

OK, I have two words that describe The Horde. WOW and WET.

Alright, I have eight words to describe The Horde. WOW, WET, and FIND AND SEE THIS MOVIE NOW!

I caught this crazy movie as part of “J. Cannibal’s TerrorThon” series that played at the Somerville Theater earlier this month, with other fun films like Dead Snow, The Human Centipede, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (read review), and local horror films Drive -in Horror Show, Next Door, and local legend film God of Vampires.

I had heard some good things about The Horde from its showing at the Leeds International Film Festival’s “Day of the Dead” marathon. And once I heard it was part of the TerrorThon, I made damn sure I was there to see it.

A quick and dirty story summary of The Horde is that a group of cops have lost one of their own to a pack of gangsters that have taken up residence in a run down apartment building in the sparcely populated part of town. After the funeral, the police decide to exact a little “street justice” outside the law and attempt to raid the building.

Well, the raid goes bad and the cops end up in the very well armed, yet slightly unstable, hands of the gangsters. And as if it wasn’t enough stress to find one of their own dead in a ditch, then screw up their raid on the people that did it, only to watch them execute a police informant right in front of them, NOW they have to deal with the dead returning to life with the, up until just a second ago, very dead Police Informant breaking through a door and chomping on two of the gangsters. The police and gangsters then make a very uncomfortable truce based on the thinking that they could all die alone, or make it through this craziness working together.

From the first attack on, the action rarely takes a break. There were a few moments to catch your breath, but only to give the actors a chance to give their characters some depth.

The Horde (La Horde) - On the setDon’t get me wrong. This is not some brainless zombie/action shoot em up kind of movie. These characters are very well fleshed out by the time the dead start to attack. And most of the acting is top notch. Leading the pack is Eriq Ebouaney as the leader of the gangsters, “Adewale.” His stare bores into you from the screen, and he easily conveys his intensity with just a glace. The rest of the cast all have their moments to shine. Yves Pignot as “René” brings the dark humor when he shows up with his Lord of the Rings Gimli- like axe and wants to take care of a bite problem one of the gangsters has. Claude Perroe as “Aurore” has one of the most bad ass fights with a zombie that I have seen this side of a Jackie Chan movie. Jean-Pierre Martins as the unwilling leader of the police, “Ouessem,” has a scene that could be taken right out of the video game “Dead Rising” by being surrounded by hundreds of zombies.

And speaking of the zombies, they are not Romero zombies in any strech of the word. They are very akin to the “Ragers” in 28 Days Later. They run FAST. They break down doors. They scream to alert others to the prey. And if they catch you, they WILL eat you. There was one very significant difference to these zombies in that they stored their food in the basement, and this is never explained or expanded upon once discovered. Weird.

Now back to one of those words I had to describe this movie. WET. I could not find a lot of information on the making of this film, but I can’t wait to find out how many gallons of blood they used to make this movie. It is splashing, spurting, spraying, gushing, or pooling in almost every scene after the dead rise. The gunshots, the bites, the dismembering, will NOT disappoint those looking for something to tide them over until they watch “Dead Alive” again. The majority of the blood was practical, but there are a few scenes where is was digitally added (ie: “Dead Rising” scene) and really does not take you out of the movie.

The Horde (La Horde) ZombieI understand this was a lower budget film, but there is NO sign of that on the screen. The visuals are gorgeous, the lighting is atmospheric, and the make up is dead on (pun intended). This being the first feature from directors Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher, I can’t wait to see what they come up with when someone throws them a better budget.

There are always things to nit pick about in almost any movie. But I really wanted this movie to live up to the reputation I had given it in my head. And it surpassed any and all I had.

Is it a perfect move? No. It is a great movie? That depends on your standards of cinema. Is it a smash mouth, bloody as all hell, bullet ridden, adrenalin fueled, zombie armageddoned punch to the throat? HELL YES!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to anyone who liked:

  • Dawn of the Dead remake
  • 28 Weeks Later
  • [REC]
  • Dead Rising
  • Left 4 Dead

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