The “Zombie Apocalypse” has struck again!! And… as always, Neko is there to enjoy all the goofy, bloody carnage to be had! So who is up to their necks in all those pesky Zombies this time out? Why the French…. and this time it’s not “Mutants”… No, no, no…it’s real honest to goodness flesh eatin’ dead people running amok doin’ what Zombies seem to do best in the new UK Region 2 DVD release for “Le Horde”. Could your Favorite Catgirl Zombie fanatic pass this one up? Are you crazy? Not on your life…
Synopsis? Yep, here it goes, sweet and simple: “An apocalyptic “end of days” battle between crooked cops, vicious gangsters and an unstoppable horde of the cannibalistic undead.
North of the city of Paris, four corrupt cops, members of a highly trained Swat unit, go on a rampage to avenge the murder of one of their members by a group of ruthless Nigerian gangsters, holed up in a deserted high-rise. Finding themselves trapped on the top floor, these two groups of enemies discover that they are not alone in the condemned building. Running to the roof, they soon find the entire city engulfed in flames and the streets now filled with a horde of zombies. Forced by circumstance to band together to survive, they must now battle to reach ground level together or perish. But the greatest threat to that survival still lies within their own ranks….”
The Trailer for this one has had me excited for some time, and I was soooo darn disappointed when the official French DVD release lacked those ever so necessary English subtitles. But, we’re in better luck here with the UK release which not only contains those, but sports a nifty English Language dubbing track as well…. (For which Carolyn was appreciative of…. Zombies aren’t exactly her favorite, but strange foreigners talking all funny while they are fighting zombies is even more of a snooze-fest for my poor, sweet dear.)
So do the French know diddly about real Zombies? Guess you’ll just have to “Read On” and find out, wont ya? C’mon… the Zombies might bite, but Neko doesn’t…Hehehehe!!
From the very start, “The Horde” gets right to things…. no dilly-dallying for these guys. Jimenez (played by Aurélien Recoing) is shown at the discovery of the body of fellow police detective Mathias Rivoallan…. Tortured, broken and his naked body left unceremoniously in a Parisian garbage dump, the victim of a gang of brutal Nigerian gangsters lead by the Markudi brothers. Next we get a small scene at the funeral, where he and fellow officers promise the grieving widow of their friend and partner that his death will not go unavenged. It’s payback time…..
This idea alone could make for one heck of a good story. Everybody… your Favorite Catgirl included… has a secret vicious lil’ spot in their soul that wants to see evil punished… and not just punished, but punished in a way that reflects the brutality of the perpetrators themselves. Must be one of those things that links us all as humans… our capacity to truly hate someone always equals our capacity to love others as well. That’s why “Revenge Melodrama” works… it lets us all live vicariously the things we as civilized people could never ever consider for real. (Well… most of us anyway….)
So, without any official sanction, detectives Jimenez, Aurore (played with great no-nonsense tough girl goodness by Claude Perron), Ouessem (played by Jean-Pierre Martins) and Tony (played by Antoine Oppenheim) set out for the nearly deserted public housing complex where the vicious Markudi brothers, Adewale (played by Eriq Ebouaney) and Bola (played by Doudou Masta) have their hide-out on the top floor of one of the decaying old buildings. One quick infiltration later, and there’s a shootout which our cops blow the whole plan badly, getting two of them wounded and the whole unit captured in the process.
Usually… in these sorts of action movies… this is where things get sticky for our poor cops, but luckily (or unluckily, I suppose…) before that can happen all heck breaks loose outside. Yep… right on schedule the “Zombie Apocalypse” springs into being. One reanimated dead guy later, and our whole gang takes a trip to the roof where the panoramic view of Paris looking like Baghdad on the opening night of Desert Storm, crawling with the zombified citizenry running amok convinces them that an impromptu truce might be in order if any of them is to survive the night.
From this point forward… and it’s really only taken about 15 minutes to get here mind you… the film gets it’s badass, butt kicking vibe on for real. You’d think that the worst friction in our hodgepodge group would be between gangsters and cops, but… you’d be wrong. Seems our girl Aurore was having an illicit affair with her partner detective Rivoallan, while already being involved with the leader of their unit, detective Jimenez. Yep…. that’s just the sort of thing to make a bunch of testosterony guys get all cranky and stupid…. and apparently it was enough to get poor Rivoallan dead. But hey… things aren’t much better in the gangster camp either. Seems Boss-man Adewale has his own problems keeping little bro Bola in line…. between his screw-ups and lack of an ability to “man up” and carry his weight in the gang, he’s downright resentful of big brother’s way of always having to keep an eye on him. Throw in the zombies…. yep, you get the picture.
The action is brutal… there’s enough zombie blasting, hand to hand up close and personal stuff with our hungry horde to keep things lively. Eventually, the little group gets whittled down, but encounters some badly needed reinforcement in the form of crazy ex-army guy Rene…. and his personal arsenal of toys… to make things even more tense. All along, our zombies stick pretty close to the zombies we’ve all come to know and love. They want to eat you… pure and simple. If they bite you, you slowly turn into one (Mind you… it also seems you become one spontaneously when you die anyways, but hey… it works for this lil’ Catgirl). They can only be stopped by having the ol’ brain box destroyed…. which none of our heroes seems to really pick up on… either that or they just like blasting them to bits repeatedly just to see them get up again. But… unlike the good ol’ zombie we all know, these ones can really move…. like starving, crazed, rabid monkeys high on angel dust. And boy…. are there a lot of them! Hmmmm? Probably explaining our title…..
Neko had a blast with this one. It’s been described by other Reviews as a cross between “Assault on Precinct 13” and “Dawn of the Dead” and basically that’s just about right. Where many French films get all bogged down with dialog or characters that seem like they belong more in an Art Film than a Horror Film, “The Horde” makes no effort to be anything than a slick homage to all the crazy Zombie films of the 70’s and 80’s we all watched growing up. At least when our parents weren’t aware of it anyway…. This one isn’t a deep movie… it makes no attempt to explain the zombies or to justify the violence, it just lays on the mayhem and lets the gore fly where it may.
Your Favorite Catgirl gives this one an enthusiastic and well deserved 4 “Meows” out of 5 for finally showing me that the French really do understand the Zombie genre and aren’t afraid to just go for it and have some guilty fun on occasion. (Hehehehe… and not a Zombie Mime in sight either…. nice!!) If there is ever a “Horde 2” in the future, I’ll be there for it, trust me!!
The UK Region 2 PAL disc is an excellent bargain. Along with those wonderfully accurate English subtitles, there’s also an English Audio dubbing… which I watched with Carolyn to spare her the torture she feels with my subtitled films…. and it’s not bad at all. I’m assuming a Region 1 release is eventual, given IFC Films acquisition of the North American rights, but if you can’t wait any more than this goofy lil’ Catgirl, the UK edition is well worth your time to track down and easily available.
As always, I tracked you down a Trailer, from the impending US IFC films release, just to get you in the mood for some nifty Zombie Fighting action. Enjoy!!