La Horde is a film that I’ve been looking at for a while, but negative reviews have kept me at bay. Something I’m a little ashamed about because despite a handful of obvious flaws, La Horde is a Zombie flick that does an admiral job keep its head above water. La Horde would have done better at this if they had chucked off the more annoying characters, rather than make them front and center. But I’ll complain about that later. The idea behind the film is great and the zombies really add to the film, over being just fodder.
The film opens with officers Ouessem (Jean-Pierre Martins), Tony (Antoine Oppenheim), Aurore (Claude Perron), and Jimenez (Aurelien Recoing) going rogue assaulting an abandoned apartment complex to kill local drug dealer Adewale (Eriq Ebouaney) for the murder of a fellow officer. When they arrive to his door their surprise assault is ruined by an overzealous squatter as their information that he was alone was wrong as Adewale has his little brother Bola (Doudou Masta) and Seb (Sebastien Peres) with some cronies in tow. This is where the film gets good because this when the zombies show up, as at this exact moment is when the dead rise to consume the living. The cops and gangsters are now forced to band together to fight their way down the besieged complex by the dead closing in on all sides. Both sides quickly lose people, until only Ouessem, Aurore, Seb, Bola and Adewale remain. Luckily they run across Rene (Yves Pignot), another resident of the hotel, an old semi-senile war veteran. Who also happens to be a zombie killing machine, that also happens to know the layout of building inside and out. With hard feelings and tensions running high can the group put their differences aside to escape the complex?
I love zombie films because they’re basically modern westerns. Small groups cut off from outside help are forced to fight off overwhelming odds and since the films are all the same principle. It’s the characters and their motivations that make the film work… or don’t. As is the case here, as most of the characters are simply awful. But luckily Rene is in this film for a long portion and Yves Pignot really makes all the scenes he’s in work.
I liked the derelict apartment complex… which is more a tower than a complex now that I think about it. It provides a great backdrop and the poor tenants that remained after the building was condemned add a great deal of character to the otherwise drab backdrop.
The zombies are, well zombies. Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher (the films directors) didn’t try to reinvent the wheel here. My only issue is are the characters in this film the only people left? Because I can’t but help think that there are a lot of zombies in an abandoned part of town. I mean this is hours into the zombie apocalypse here.
Final thoughts, a fun zombie flick, but meh as a functional horror film. Rene is the best part of this film, and the fluctuating level of bad assery displayed by the zombie varies greatly. Which gets really annoying. But that might just be me. Anyway, as far as engaging story or characters La Horde is a bit thin. But if you want semi-mindless zombie action, as there are strong attempts here and there that just fall flat, than give this a watch. 5/10