Friday, October 14, 2016

#2,221. The Horde (2009)

Directed By: Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher

Starring: Claude Perron, Jean-Pierre Martins, Eriq Ebouaney

Awards: Won for Best Screenplay & Best Cinematography at the 2010 Fantasporto Awards

Trivia: Shown as the closing film at Leeds International Film Festival's "Day Of The Dead" horror film marathon on 7th November, 2009

Early on in George Romero’s 1978 film Dawn of the Dead, there’s a scene in which a Philadelphia SWAT team raids an apartment complex, and are immediately fired upon by some of its residents. It isn’t long, though, before the dead come back to life, forcing both the police and the criminals to turn their attention (and their fire power) towards this new, but incredibly lethal, threat.

This is but one of many engaging sequences in this classic film, and runs for approximately 5-10 minutes. In the 2009 French horror movie The Horde, directors Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher stretch this same scenario into a feature length motion picture, and with its wall-to-wall action and bloodshed it proves to be a heck of a wild ride.

Looking to avenge the murder of one of their own, a group of vigilante cops, including Aurore (Claude Perron), Quessem (Jean-Pierre Martins) and Jimenez (Aurélien Recoing), raid the Paris tenement building that houses the notorious Markudi brothers, Adewale (Eriq Ebouaney) and Bola (Doudou Masta), and their posse of drug dealers. A shootout ensues, and when the smoke clears, the Markudis have killed several policemen and taken the rest prisoner.

But their victory is short-lived, because moments after the melee ends, the gang is attacked by a handful of ravenous zombies! From the looks of it, the entire building has been overrun by the living dead, and both the Markudi brothers and the remaining cops realize that, to survive this terrifying ordeal, they’re going to have to team up.

For every single one of its 90 minutes, The Horde is in an all-out adrenaline rush. The opening firefight between the cops and the bad guys is plenty intense, but pales in comparison to the insanity that follows soon after. Borrowing a page from the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, the undead masses in The Horde move pretty fast, which makes trying to stay ahead of them that much more difficult. And, of course, when the zombies do grab a hold of someone, the blood flies in every direction.

As if all this wasn’t crazy enough, there’s the added layer of tension that exists between the police and the Markudi gang, whose uneasy alliance is always hanging by a thread. Throw in a heavily-armed middle aged-maniac named René (Yves Pignot), who joins the fun at about the movie’s midway point, and you have an action-packed zombie film that rarely stops to take a breath.

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