Zombie Month Repost: La Horde by Jamie

Ah, the French. As someone from England it is my national duty to hate them and everything they stand for. I assure you, it’s nothing personal. It’s just something burned into the minds of every English person from the moment that they are born. Sure, the Americans flirted with a bit of French hating a while back, going so far as renaming ‘French Fries’ to ‘Freedom Fries’ which was very cute but ultimately the work of amateurs when it comes to the art of French hating. To put it in a way that you might understand, they‘re like our Canada but only the French part of Canada.

Of course I jest. I have no actual hatred for the French whatsoever but aren’t national stereotypes fun? The truth is I’m about as indifferent to the French as I am the rest of the English. They exist, I exist. Hopefully we can all continue to exist without causing each other any discomfort. That would be just lovely, thank you. The point I suppose I’m trying to get at here is that today I’m reviewing a French film, ‘La Horde’ which when translated into a proper language (again, just kidding) becomes ‘The Horde’. It’s a film about Zombies and, as you may or may not know, I’m rather a fan of that particular genre of film. Let’s get into it.

The film is about a group of police officers who, after one of their friends is killed by a gang decide to take out revenge and raid the building where they are known to hang out. It’s whilst they are doing this however that Zombies happen. The police suddenly find themselves trapped in the building and having to team up with the gangsters in order to find a way out.

So let’s address the elephant in the room straight away, shall we? What kind of Zombies are we dealing with here? Well, it’s the fast kind that have been gaining popularity these days which I’ve largely made my peace with after seeing ‘Zombieland’ and ‘Diary of the Dead’. It is because of those films, however, that I have made my peace with them only in certain situations and trapped in a building isn’t one of them. They make sense in Zombie road movies where the characters are constantly on the move. It’s why they worked in Zombieland and why the slow ones failed so miserably in Diary of the Dead.

Still, they aren’t completely awful here. Much like ‘REC’, there are some tense scenes where people are walking down the corridor and suddenly something will burst from around the corner or out of the darkness so yeah, fast Zombies are fine if you like jump scares. There’s also something about this kind of Zombie that does lend itself well to multi-storey buildings, again as in Rec. The slow kind would be somewhat pointless if you wanted characters being chased up and down stairs although a slow moving, heaving throng slowly making it’s way upstairs would make for quite a nice, tension-filled film.

To be honest, it’s not the Zombies I had the biggest problem with in this film, it was the people. They all seemed to just be total assholes. Expected perhaps of the gangsters but the police as well? I suppose they are on a mission of revenge so they’re not the exactly your by-the-books kind of cops but still. In fact the most likeable character is one of the gangsters. There’s also a bizarre old man who seems quite funny and likeable right up until the point when he just becomes over-the-top weird and perverted with regards to zombies.

Basically, I couldn’t get emotionally engaged with any of the characters and that’s a bit of a problem in a Zombie film. If I can’t care about the characters then what’s keeping me around to see whether they live or die? Sure a few of them redeem themselves by sacrificing themselves to save others but it’s all just a bit too little too late for me to care by that point. Watching this film was basically like watching a few other people play ‘Left 4 Dead’. It could be mildly entertaining at times but at the end of the day you don’t really have anything invested in the outcome. Still, they did get one thing right and that was making the people you’re trapped with the true threat… In fact this may have been the best example I’ve ever seen of a film with both threatening people and threatening Zombies. I commend it for that.

So overall I was left slightly disappointed by this film. It just didn’t grab me like I had hoped it would and I swear my dislike of it has nothing to do with the fact that it was made by French people. Overall I give it two and a half pints out of five. Laterz.

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