MPI // 2009 // 97 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 4th, 2011
The French opt to carve out a piece of the undead movie cash cow with this deft bit of action-horror.
A group of police officers infiltrate a Nigerian gang's headquarters to avenge the death of one of their comrades, murdered by the criminals. They eventually get captured and just before the Nigerians execute them, a disturbance sounds out from the night: the gang's sentry becomes intimate with the bloodthirsty flesh-cravings of a zombie.
And soon enough the titular horde descends upon the cops and the criminals, who, now faced with the prospect of having the crap eaten out of them, form a tenuous alliance to repel the carnivorous invaders.
There's not much new you can do with the zombie genre, so these days what I look for in my cinematic undead sojourns is a good execution of the formula. The Horde is an excellent example of this; a film that doesn't showcase many new ideas, yet manages to accomplish the much appreciated feat of generating effective thrills.
I like the idea of focusing on a small part of the zombie apocalypse, instead of looking at it globally. No need to talk about the origins of the outbreak or the military's response or the efforts of the nation's top scientists to track down a cure. All that stuff, while probably happening, is sequestered to the sidelines. It's all about a small group of characters who aren't terribly likable, but are driven to survive, and if that means forming a truce, then so be it.
I'm onboard with that. It helps that the cops and the gang members are thorough bad-asses, and anti-heroes that they may be, still know how to talk trash, wield shotguns and smash zombie heads into walls repeatedly until the skulls pop like a ripe cantaloupe. The characters are fairly shallow, defined by their physicality and their mutual disdain for each other, but this is a survival story, not a character study, and when the instincts kick in as the zombie threat bears down, the film hums.
About those zombies. These are the athletic kind, not the dumb-ass wanderers. Think cousins of the creatures from 28 Days Later and Snyder's Dawn of the Dead. They scream and snarl, break through doors and come sprinting down dark corridors with Usain Bolt speed. Going with this species is a good choice as the building our heroes are trapped in offers plenty of tight spaces, upping the tension when one of the flesh-eaters breaks loose. Also, some nice gore awaits when a human inevitably gets munched.
The DVD is impressive, featuring a clean 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a punchy 5.1 surround mix. Extras: an alternate opening, deleted scenes, a lengthy making-of feature, a short film and several art galleries.
Fast-paced and bloody, The Horde is a solid, if unsurprising, zombie outing.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Alternate Opening
* Deleted Scenes
* Short Film
* Image Galleries