The Horde (La horde) 2009
The Horde is like Reservoir Dogs meets Dawn of the Dead (2004), but in French with subtitles. It starts off with a gang of crooked cops seeking revenge for the killing of one of their own by an international gang of ruthless thugs. However, when they are quickly outnumbered by the horde of undead, the enemy of my enemy becomes my friend and all that. This is probably for the best because they are all so unlikable that it is unlikely the audience is going to side with either group. The violence displayed, by both the living and the unloving is brutal and atavistic. The color pallet is rich in gore, grime, and decay.
Four off-duty (we assume) cops, three male and one female, arrive at a high-rise squat in what appears to be the outskirts of Paris. Almost immediately things start going wrong and the in-fighting begins. They are there to rescue one of their own and seek revenge for the murder of another colleague. They are immediately taken captive by a multi-national consortium of thugs, lead by two Nigerian brothers. This results in two casualties and a whole lot of screaming. Then dead people start doing things dead people aren’t supposed to do and there is a whole lot more screaming.
The tenement building is an effective location and the director and cinematographer make good use of the darkness, cramped corridors, bouncing sounds, and overall feeling that hope has long been abandoned here. Eventually the foes make an uneasy truce in an effort to escape the dead gathering outside the building looking for a hot lunch. As they descend from the top floors, they encounter other residents of the building, both living and dead. The atmosphere is always tense and claustrophobic. The gore and violence are prolific, but in a few scenes it is taken to an almost artistic composition. It is slightly jarring in that the shots become more about creating an iconic image without regard to things like continuity (blood, what blood?). The final scene, as they burst into the relative light of a freshly apocalyptic world, makes you think, “Ah, I can finally breathe again!” And then being one of them mind-fuck-European-type movies you gotta suck that breath all back in again.
Things this movie taught me – there is apparently a held believe that simply being Nigerian will protect you from zombies. The US does not have the market on crazy Vietnam vets. Zombies hath no fury like an adulterous woman left knocked up and scorned.
Solid zombie fare with fast zombies, lots of gore, and great atmosphere.