But Speaking of Zombies — and French Ones to Boot

I had started watching Elvira on TV Sunday hosting the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but not quite in the right mood for her wisecracks, switched to a DVD of THE HORDE (a.k.a. LA HORDE), a very violent — and very well done — French zombie film which had just arrived from Amazon UK maybe the day before (since it was cheaper in England even with the postage, even getting it new, and I don’t have any problem with PAL format). Ironically, since I usually watch these in the original language with subtitles, the British disk has an English language dub as well, while I understand the US equivalent doesn’t.  One thing about The Horde also though (and I think it’s picked up in some of the reviews) is that the use of sound is extremely well done, and the “background noise” becomes very important by the end.

The main objection some critiques have is that none of the characters are particularly likeable:  It involves French police having to join with gang bangers to fight their way through a zombie, um, horde — but the cops are corrupt bastards who’d originally attacked the crooks in an abandoned high rise because the crooks had previously killed one of their fellow cops (and who, despite his being married, the sole policewoman member of our merry band had been sleeping with — but, well, it is French).  There are also poor people still living in the building including a particularly politically incorrect (he refers to the zombies as “Chinks” throughout) elderly veteran of Dien Bien Phu (the engagement after which Charles de Gaulle reportedly warned President Eisenhower that the US ought not get involved in Viet Nam — Eisenhower didn’t listen), two Nigerian crooks who had apparently had their own violent past in Africa, the still-resident apartment security man who has a weapons collection stashed in his office, and one particularly over the top battle between the lead policeman and “La Horde” in the building’s underground parking garage which, yes, is probably not 100 percent believable but, still, Wow!   Also, for those who pick sides between slow zombies and fast zombies, these guys are FAST — and, re. the unlikeable characters rap, yes, guilty as charged, except at the same time they’re delightfully quirky.

Also the film is quite nihilistic (speaking of  THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, original version).

I would compare THE HORDE favorably with the Spanish film [REC], for those who’ve seen that one.  Similarly, the French film starts off a little bit slow but once in gear, and not very far into it at all (though I understand there is a version with about 8 minutes more set up at the beginning, but only available in Germany– it is, however, included in “Deleted Scenes” in the Extras), it doesn’t let up for a moment.

This will not be everyone’s kind of film, but if you should feel the urge to watch an ultra violent zombie film, THE HORDE would be a good pick.  And don’t miss what one critique called the “ultimate cat fight” between our policewoman friend and a female zombie who tries to jump her in an apartment kitchen (e.g., use of a refrigerator as a weapon).

  1. I think that’s one I’ll add to my Netflix list! I don’t know about the rapping part, but if I’m in a vicious zombie mood, I might be able to deal with it.

    • Hi Christine, thanks. My use of “gangbangers” may have been a misnomer as these are a gang of adult, and vicious criminals, but if the “unlikability” rap were rapping in the musical sense, that would be something too! :-0 It is a gritty, violent film throughout, but a great film too (in my opinion)! Be warned though that the British film rating is”suitable only for persons of 18 years and older” for “strong bloody violence and gory horror” — not exactly one for the whole family to watch together.

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