FEARNET Movie Review - The Horde


I say there's always room for one more straight-faced, bad-ass, gore-laden zombie flick on the video shelves, and if the movie at hand happens to come from outside of North America, please consider me doubly intrigued. And if that foreign land happens to be France, hell, I'm actually excited now. (I know I'm not the only one who has noticed the fine horror flicks coming out of France these days.) So it was with no small sense of genre-lovin' glee that I sat down to enjoy The Horde, an unrated and reportedly very splattery French zombie flick that comes from a pair of first-time filmmakers. I was all set to fall in love with The Horde...

First the good news: the film delivers three or four "invasion / defense / devour" sequences that are exciting, enjoyably gory, and bolstered by a surprisingly strong musical score. At its most kinetic moments, The Horde manages to hit on most cylinders and deliver some manically enjoyable Left 4 Dead-style mega-carnage.

Unfortunately for all involved (particularly the viewer), one must suffer through numerous painful scenes of A) flat characterization, B) an overtly stupid devotion to hardcore vulgarity*, and C) more scenes of 'bicker / whine / scream / argue' than any 91-minute zombie flick should ever offer. The potentially nifty plot -- a group of angry cops invade a sleazy apartment building to kill a vicious drug lord, but {whoops} then the zombie apocalypse breaks out -- should make for a slick, smooth, and streamlined piece of gore-strewn action-horror, but The Horde also suffers from a confused narrative, which is weird considering how skimpy the plot is, and an editorial approach best described as amateurish. (* I of course have no aversion to dirty words, but they're so prevalent in the flick's "quieter" moments that you get the sense the screenwriter simply couldn't think of anything better to write. Rob Zombie does the same thing.)

Even the better action and horror moments are partially undone by some truly unfortunate decisions: at first the zombies have superhuman strength, but later we see one survivor plowing through them as if they were skinny football tackles; several action-intensive moments are marred by that horrid "remove every other frame" technique that's supposed to make the action look fast, but instead just makes it look cheap; and some scenes simply run on way too long. One egregiously stupid sequence has a survivor standing atop a car while *hundreds* of zombies just wave and flail at his legs for three consecutive minutes. This stuff doesn't need to be Shakespeare, but some sense of internal "movie logic" would be appreciated.

So we've got a bunch of broadly-drawn and patently unpleasant survivors, all of whom grow more hateful as the film progresses, which ultimately leads to a sort of "what's the point?" perspective. I don't care if any of these folks survive or get chomped, which means I'm only there for a handful of scare and gore scenes. Like I said, there's some real creativity and energy to some of The Horde's best moments; one can't help but wish they existed inside of a less irritating movie.

Read FEARnet's partner reviews of 'The Horde'.