Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Horde (2010)

The Horde (aka La Horde in its native French), which was released on DVD last week, has been receiving a lot of press lately, both favorable and unfavorable. It seems that horror fans are split on this film – either they hated it with a passion or named it as one of their “best of” picks for 2010. Horror films that split the horror community right down the middle always intrigue me. It really makes me marvel at how people’s perspectives can be so different – one person may have called it the best zombie movie of 2010, but another said it was the worst POS he had ever seen. Surely everyone’s opinion is different, but films that cause such a wide divide in the horror community are even more interesting to me. So, of course I had to see The Horde to decide for myself whether it was a bloody good time or just a waste of time.

The Horde is about a group of vigilante cops that decide to take revenge on a group of gangsters that killed a fellow police officer. They storm the gang’s decrepit headquarters, housed inside a ghetto apartment building, but soon discover they are out-manned and out-gunned by the ruthless thugs. As the gang holds them hostage, a whole new dilemma presents itself as masses of fast-moving zombies start amassing outside the building. Now the remaining cops and gang members must work together to escape the hungry hordes of undead.

The Horde will no doubt delight gorehounds with its bloody set-pieces, but it also includes some timely social commentary on race, class, war, loyalty, etc. that will please more cerebral horror fans. As to the big question – whether I loved or hated the film – truth be told The Horde left me lukewarm. On the one hand I loved all the bloody action that exploded on the screen as well as the social commentary, but on the other hand I felt like I had already seen everything the film had to offer in other, perhaps better, zombie movies. After a tense and promising first act the second and third acts were a bit of a let-down. No matter how much blood and grue were tossed at the screen, no matter how many super-fast, super-strong zombies were mowed down by guns, hacked apart by machete or blown apart with grenades I just couldn’t seem to get into the latter part of the film. Maybe I’m just being a jaded horror fan, but it didn’t feel like enough creativity or originality had gone into The Horde, thus making it seem like any other zombie movie.

People might get upset over the “fast zombie” issue, but I thought it actually made the zombies even more frightening. The zombie makeup was also superb, making the zombies look even fiercer. Another complaint has been about the lack of an explanation regarding the zombie outbreak (the only thing we get is a newscast about an “epidemic” and a military safe zone that survivors should try to get to), but I actually appreciated how they kept the action focused on the building’s survivors and didn’t try expand the action to beyond the apartment building’s walls. The lack of explanation kept the action frenetic and immediate (though some of the action did get bogged down by pacing issues). Another part of the story I enjoyed were the ulterior motives of all the characters and how everyone was ultimately looking out for #1 (with a few exceptions). The relationship between two Nigerian brothers was the most intriguing, but I felt that the focus on the bloody action overshadowed the complex relationships in the end. The ending of the film, while not surprising, was satisfying in its somberness.

Though The Horde had its issues, it certainly didn’t qualify it for “worst of” status. There were plenty other horror flicks to claim that title this year. However, it also wasn’t creative enough to warrant it a “best of” nod either, at least not in my book. If you are looking for a gory zombie flick and can overlook the film’s shortcomings discussed above, then by all means check out The Horde. It’s not a perfect horror film, but it’s a pretty good time for what it is.

Buy it on Amazon!

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