Sunday, August 21, 2011

Le Horde (That's French for 'The Horde')

We horror fans are in the mist of a worldwide condition known as Zombie Fatigue. Symptoms: excessive yawning and full-body lethargy when watching yet another saga of the flesh-eating undead. Unless a film uses zombiism to explore something deeper (a la Deadgirl) or simply nails a good old cannibal feast out of the park, what’s the point?
France’s The Horde doesn’t revolutionize that oh-so-potent subgenre of horror, but it sure does give you 90 minutes of pretty exciting zombie action. Is that enough?
Quick Plot: A group of police officers decide to take their own vengeance on a pair of Nigerian gangsters hiding out in the projects. Storming the castle fails miserably, resulting in a few deaths and, more importantly, the discovery that the dead are waking up with speedy legs and carnivorous appetites.

It’s zombies! It’s a siege! It’s a combination of what’s worked in a bunch of other horror films stuffed inside this one, and you know what? I dug it. 
The bad guys are interesting, with their own untold history that makes all their brotherly interactions fairly loaded. Though she’s not particularly likable, the female lead packs some excellent moxie as a woman with one mission and plenty of punches. The third act addition of a high energy, zombie slaying, racial epithet spewing tenant offers an enjoyable light touch (especially when he keeps referring to the greasy ponytailed bad guy as a carny, just cause), and most importantly, each character’s demise (those who have one; no spoilers here) is given its proper due by either being brutal, heroic, surprising, or sad.

I realize that’s an incredibly fast and not very informative recap, but there’s not too much point in digging any deeper. The Horde is exciting for its running time, and then it’s over. It’s far better made than the majority of modern zombie cinema, and for a violent, funny, and sometimes scary 90 minutes, it’s more than suitable. And then it’s over.
High Points
The introduction of the first zombie, his face masked in a black plastic bag, is, what the French call, ‘le badass’
Similarly, most of the human-hand-to-zombie-hand combat scenes are genuinely exciting. No one goes down easy, and watching it unroll is worth a handful of popcorn each time

Low Points
The movie is a perfectly suitable mashup of zombies and siege. That it does little of anything original is mildly disappointing if your expectations are in that realm

Lessons Learned
Surprising to me, the French do indeed use the verb ‘French’ to mean what we Americans think of it as. Or at least, that’s what the subtitles said
If you use your rifle to secure every door you close behind you, you will eventually run out of rifles
The French have very hard heads. How else to explain the multiple cranium butts that never seem to phase our fierce zombie fighters?
Carnies ain’t so down and hip with the concept of having their leg amputated
Now streaming on Netflix, The Horde is an enjoyable watch when you’re looking for good horror action. There’s no boundary pushing and in time, it will probably blend together with a lot of movies with similar styles, but that doesn’t necessarily take anything away from it. It’s a perfectly fine action horror film that won’t bring about world peace, but will keep you on edge.


  1. I totally agree with all the points you make.
    Is this groundbreaking? Now way. It's like a mash-up of assorted siege/zombie flicks. What it manages to do right is be a successful mash-up. It coulda been sooooooo bad! But it wasn't.
    Glad you dug it for what it was.

  2. Amen Christine! Considering just HOW bad some recent zombie flicks have been, The Horde could certainly have been not worth a bother. Good action, good suspense, all the stuff I generally want from this kind of movie.

  3. Good review. I enjoyed this because it reminds me of the video game Left 4 Dead.

  4. Thanks Bonjour! I stopped playing games once the joystick thingies got really complicated, so my knowledge ends with Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Now THAT'S a movie I want!

  5. I think every country is entitled to produce their own interpretation of "the zombie film".

  6. No doubt! Have you heard about the new one called The Dead that's being filmed in Africa? Fangoria has been doing a series of articles documenting its making and maybe I'm just a sucker, but I'm extremely intrigued.

  7. I'm at a fatigue myself. Just can't bring myself to see these types of zombie films anymore. It's been done, beaten, this dead horse is riddled with bullets I tells ya!

  8. The old man was easily the best actor in the movie. This movie certainly wasn't all that great, but I found it entertaining nearly the whole way through, which is a lot more than I can say for the average Zombie film these days... hell, it's more than I can say for the average MOVIE.

    Great post.

  9. Agreed Kev! It's like slashers: they range from unwatchable to effective, but there's only so much that can be done when following such a strict and overplayed formula. But hey, when done right, it's perfect for a certain viewing mood!