The Horde (2009)

Writers: Various
Directors: Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher

The Horde (‘La Horde’) is a French zombie movie, which in itself is unusual and interesting. Unfortunately it doesn’t have much else going for it.

The film begins with the funeral of a man murdered in a gangland battle. This is very much the stylish sort of film making I normally associate with French cinema. But then it all changes – maybe this is a symptom of two directors? The main section of the film has a very different colour palette, increasingly shaky camera work and generally different feel. Unfortunately the main film is significantly less sophisticated than the beginning.

Relatives of the dead man decide to take revenge on the gang responsible, who have their headquarters in a disused tower block. A small group tool up heavily with firearms and go in seeking blood: one of them actually says “Tonight we came for a bloodbath”.

Which is, of course, exactly what they get. The raid goes wrong and the group quickly find themselves in a sticky position. Then the zombies appear. The cause of the outbreak is never specified but it has affected the entire city. The two factions are now trapped and must work together to survive.

It’s not a bad setup, but nothing really comes of it. The direction doesn’t make anything of the potentially claustrophobic atmosphere of the tower block. Instead it concentrates heavily on action. This is a very violent film; there’s not much gore, but a lot of violence.

Much of it between the living. This is a film that concentrates a lot on the character interaction. Fair enough, but the problem for me was that I found them all unpleasant and unintelligent. There are a number of references to racism, so maybe there’s a subtext here about French society that was lost on me.

Not liking any of the characters also undermined the violence. I didn’t feel like cheering when the living pumped hundreds of bullets into the dead, nor did I care when they were killed.

As for the zombies themselves, they’re so-so. There are a few really superb mass zombie scenes, mainly near the end, however they’re not enough to significantly improve a film I found rather dull. Despite the many hundreds of bullets fired.