Friday, 5 November 2010

The Undead Uprise In ...

La Horde

‘‘Religion is just death insurance’’

Cops, criminals and an army of undying human carnivores square off in a Zombie Armageddon. Another flesh feast from France, and this one thunders along at a cracking bloody pace.

Seasoned cops treading a very fine line between call of duty, and traversing the same path taken by those they seek to bring to justice, seek to take violent revenge when one of their own is killed.

Attending the cemetery during the day to pay respects at the funeral, by night the resolute agents of the law turn vigilantes and seek vengeance upon a gang headed up by a notorious Nigerian villainous savant. The acquired intelligence on their targets leads them to a near derelict super high rise middle class residence. The building is empty apart from a few stubborn residents ignoring notices to quit, and the pocket of drugs and arms dealers headed up by the Nigerian named Adewale.

Storming the high rise for violent reprisal the cops more than meet their match in Adewale and his better organised men. Two are viciously killed and one is badly wounded as the diversity of weaponry at the gangs disposal is brutally displayed.

With the remainder of the cops, including one feisty female officer, at the mercy of the gang suddenly there is a cataclysmic turn of events that occurs outside. The surrounding city is turned into chaos as the night sky is turned into a pulsating pastel of explosions. An epidemic has broken out and is immediately affecting the populace. People are turning on each other and those that are killed within a few minutes return from the dead, imbued with an overpowering strength of adrenalin and a hunger for flesh.

Described by most as a Zombie movie, and in certain quarters criticised for its lack of character development and perceived as being without anyone to cheer for or get behind, it really is deserving of neither attribute. It’s intent is not to atypically compartmentalise but allow for a fallow dichotomy, empathic to a contemporary society. The film is a frenetic Action movie with the fast paced humans infected by an unknown contagion. The unexplained virus also reanimates the recent dead but at no time in the film does it show or imply that the rotting corpses of long deceased people are reviving.

La Horde is at its best enjoyed as a non Zombie film as the super enhanced manic delivery is far more striking and realistic buying into an outbreak of unknown origin. Watching the two diverse groups of gang and cops having to pull together in order to defend themselves against a far greater threat adds heightened believability to proceedings. There is a multitude of close quarter street fights where the anti hero’s have to use their hand to hand combat skills against the unyielding mutants. The results being some of the most intense pummelling witnessed on screen in a long time.

It is, however, incredible that each time a new ‘Zombie’ type take on the genre comes out how hapless the protagonists are in not working out that the only way to stop these monstrous manifestations is to shoot them in the head. It certainly adds to the deliriousness of the wanton deluge of blood and guts spillage as the infected are riddled with bullets in every other part of their bodies, but please, get serious, splatter the grey matter by blasting the damned things in the skull !.

The close proximity setting of floor after floor of corridors in the high rise make for some claustrophobic encounters, and the darkly lit environment more than adds to the effectiveness of this Action horror.

With their combined numbers dwindled down to just a handful the unified group meets up with a quirky old timer, survivor of a great war and a veteran stubborn enough to remain resident in the complex in his solitude from society. This old timer knows how to look after himself, and the groups first encounter with has them witness his ability with a long handled mighty pickaxe, repeatedly dispatched upon the flailing mutant beings with dissecting effectiveness. Looking a little like a more seasoned version of Hannibal Smith from The A Team, this guy definitely loves it when a bloody plan comes together.

With news of the contagious outbreak hitting the city, witnessed upon a weak signalled television set in the old mans apartment, Adawale and his beleaguered cohorts join with the veteran, making use of his apparent skills and knowledge of the complex, in order to exact a passage to the outside and a better chance of survival.

There is always an edge to proceedings with a volatile element of tenuous trust between all, and combined with the all too prevalent threat to them all this brilliantly enhances the realistic flavour of the movie.

Blood, guts, gore, guns, grenades and a joyously unbelievable Mexican stand off as one of the main lead cops squares off against a surging mass of flesh hungry ghouls, within the high rise parking facility, propels La Horde into crowd pleasing rapture.

Throw in a suitably down beat and bleak closure and this stands up there with some of the best implied ‘Zombie’ type films produced. This is without doubt an accomplished ghoulish Grenache of Gallic gruel to revel in.

Movie Rating: 7/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Pal Region 2 DVD

La Horde (2009)

Directors Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher
With Claude Perron, Jean-Pierre Martins,Eriq Ebouaney,
Aurélien Recoing, Doudou Masta, Jo Prestia,
Antoine Oppenheim, Yves Pignot & Adam Pensawang


  1. Sold!! The review had me all excited, never mind the film...awesome!

  2. Good to hear David :) . When sourcing please do also go check out the trailer for a another Zombie flick called EATERS from Italy & certainly looks like a horror flick to get excited about in quite a while from the pasta masters of gore. Interestingly it has the attachment of ... An Uwe Boll Presentation ... interesting indeed. Check out the trailer:

  3. Hi Jade, it's a fast paced Action / Horror that doesn't skimp on the blood & guts for sure. I really quite enjoyed it.

  4. Ive been hearing excellent things about this one, looking forward to picking it up for myself Paul!

  5. It's another Solid performer from the French film makers Carl that is worth seeking out.