It took me a while to get around to watching the French zombie movie ‘The Horde’ because my copy was the English dubbed version and if I can avoid it, I don’t watch dubbed movies if there are natural voiced subtitled versions around, so I decided to wait until I got a hold of one of those instead. Eventually it became pretty clear that I wasn’t going get a hold of one those copies, since everybody treats me like crap, and I watched my English dubbed version. In retrospect I guess it didn’t really matter considering a dubbed translation of AAARRRRHH!!!! Or GAAARRH!!!! Or the sound of blood filling up your throat probably translates pretty well in any language.
Hard assed cops Oussem (Jean-Pierre Martins), Aurore (Claude Perron), Jimenez (Aurelien Recoing) and Tony (Antoinne Oppenheim) have descended upon what I assume is the Paris version of The Projects to avenge one of their own. Just so you know these four cops suck at the whole revenge game. Absolutely awful at it.
These cops find themselves at the mercy of brutal Nigerian gangster Adewale (Eriq Ebouaney), his idiot brother Bola (Doudou Masta) and the crazed gangster Tony (Jo Prestia). There are more gangsters in the beat up apartment but they will not be of much concern for much longer.
What these cops and gangsters are unaware of at this time is that society as they knew it has pretty much come to an end. We don’t know the how’s or the why’s of this, but it has definitely occurred. They got a good idea that this was the case when the cat that Bola shot repeatedly in the head at close range came back to life, looking like he just grew a foot, had been working out, acquired himself some razor sharp choppers and proceeded to eat those other gangsters that we told you not to worry about. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen in a stable society.
It’s not long before Gangsters and Cops alike realize that something is terribly wrong since there are angry, hungry dead people everywhere and these are ‘28 Days Later’ Carl Lewis style zombies. Zombies are bad enough but sprinting zombies are the absolute worst.
So what’s the plan? From the rooftop our heroes can see that Paris is Burning so there’s really not a lot for them out there. The halls are filled with zombies, the stairwells are filled with zombies, the courtyard of this project is filled with zombies. And some of the members of our cop / gangster crew are even crazier than the zombies. Thus The Plan, as I see it, is to die as painlessly as possible. And I don’t even think they are going to accomplish that.
What more can filmmakers possibly do with the Zombie Movie? We’ve made them funny, we’ve domesticated zombies, we’ve serialized the zombie, we’ve made them fast, slow, climb walls, we’ve made them gay… what more can be done with the zombie movie? Not much. To the credit of director’s Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher they certainly weren’t going for comedy and don’t try to reinvent the zombie wheel here, they just try to make sure their movie moves fast and is hyper violent in the process of moving fast, and to that end we can say that they have largely succeeded. There are times I winced while watching ‘The Horde’ and that’s just something that doesn’t happen all that often.
This is a movie almost completely devoid of sympathetic characters so when they get eaten there’s not lot invested emotionally for the audience, in fact a lot of the emotion is in hoping some these characters actually do get eaten making the zombies the good guys in some instances. At least from where I was sitting. Eriq Ebouanay as the head gangster was semi-heroic as time went on but that’s more of a testament to Ebouanay’s talent as an actor, a talent which he has displayed on numerous occasions, that made this happen more so than a script device. And there was this really odd and uncomfortable scene that involved what I believe is the only case of zombie sexual harassment on record. I know it’s a zombie and the zombie is unaware that it’s sexually harassed but making a zombie show you her tits really isn’t cool.
But that’s all beside the point, whether or not you give a damn about the characters is negligible. If you find zombie sexual harassment uncomfortable, that’s your issue. If you want character development, subtlety, nuance and innuendo… look elsewhere. However if you do not have a problem watching zombies get mowed down by bullets, machetes, hand grenades and pick axes among other weapons of mass destruction… then this is your movie. If you were ever curious about how a fist fight would turn out between two angry bitches, with one of these angry bitches being a zombie… here you go. If you ever wondered can one man who knows kung fu kick the asses of two zombies who also seem to know kung fu? The answer is yes he can. No sir, ‘The Horde’ doesn’t do anything special or unique outside of watching weirdoes sexually harass a zombie, but it does it fast and violently. Those are limitations we can live with.