Le Horde "The Horde" (2009) - REVISITED, as part of the Terrorthon 10 program at the Somerville Theater. Reviewed in a spoiler filled article on this blog in August 2010, here is the second viewing of the film. The story plot is simple enough on an outward level but very complex in characterization. After a cop is killed by a local drug dealing gang, his cop friends make a plan to go execute the thugs. The night of the plan the cops are foiled and taking prisoner by the gang but right at that moment an airborne plague that reanimated the dead spreads fast and soon the gang and the cops are working together fighting for their lives against a horde of zombies. Fast zombies and aggressive they are hard to kill.
What is still great about this film is the interpersonal connections between the character. This is no simple good guys bad guys story. It is a web of long and short term relationships. The Ganster brothers from Nigeria, Adewale (Eriq Ebouaney) and the younger Bola (Doudou Masta) where the older has always looked out for the impulsive and easily anger younger brother. References to how they were treated in their youth in Nigeria make them more than just thugs but lets the audience see that they have a history. Lead cop Ouessem (Jean-Pierre Martins) holds resentment with female cop Aurora (Claude Perron) for having an affair with the cop they are seeking revenge for. It is his belief that the dead cop lost focus because of her. She has her own thoughts on this, she is carrying the dead cops baby and not only wants revenge but also wants to survive the horde to let the baby live. Tony, the wounded cop has feeling for Aurora and wished it was him she picked instead of the dead cop.
When the cops arrived the Gangsters including Greco (Jo Prestia) a drug dealer are beating a guy who is tied up and hooded in the bathroom. Hot headed Bola thinking this guy is the reason the cops are here shoots him full of bullets. This is poor choice since the zombie bug is in the air and soon the dead hooded guy is up and looking to bite anyone and everyone. It is established that shooting zombie guys in the head will stop them but it is still amazing how many times zombies get shot in the chest. Things go from crazy to balls against the wall very quickly and soon there are just three cops and three gangsters on the roof of the building watching the nearby city burn and hordes of zombies swarming around. Again I am struck by why would a horde of zombies head to this run down apartment building? Aurora, Ouessem, and Tony (Antoine Oppenheim) for the cops, Tony shot in the leg and needing assistance. Greco, Adewale, and Bola for the gansters and all recognizing that they do not want to be trapped in this building. So working together they will try to get out. You can question why they feel the need to get out, they can see hundreds of wandering zombies down there. Why not hold up and clear enough space to wait it out a while?
The travel down the building is scary and at time action packed. When Zombies attack Greco is stuck outside he safety door and has to fight off two zombies at once. The actor and former boxer is so up to the task. Great action until he finally makes it through the door but unfortunately is bitten in the leg. Tony and Aurora are separated from the others when a zombie woman attacks Tony. After they deal with it, in a great scene where Aurora fights like demon we hear more interpersonal information from Tony as he nurses a bite on his shoulder. He has had the hots for Aurora and was jealous of her relationship with the dead cop. She wants no part of his infatuation and seeing his bite get more zombie infected holds a gun on him and tells him to cuff himself. Not ready to go out that way Tony waits until she is handing him the cuffs and then BAM! cracks her hard into a wall mirror, knocking her out. Now love must be a fleeting thing because he leaves her there unprotected. Of course she just spurned him so maybe it was the sting of that.
Back at the gangsters, Adewale makes it clear to Ouessum that he is now alone with them and needs not be so sensitive to the increasingly unpredictable Bola. Adewale has to be sturn with his brother creating a shift in loyalty for the younger from his bro to Greco. These shifts in relationship keep the movie interesting in what is basically a survival story. They make there way to find a big old guy Rene (Yves Pignot) disposing of some zombies. He has been securing his area of the building and says he has killed a half dozen or so. Back in his apartment the racist Rene, he had fought in southeast asia and calls all the Zombies "chinks" and the survivors decide to head down the elevator shaft and then out of the building through the basement car park. Hopefully getting a ride. There is some funny stuff when Rene wants to cut off the leg of Greco so the infection won't spread. Of course Greco is having no part in that.
Tony finds them and starts telling them of Aurora's demise when she appears behind him and puts a bullet in his brain. The remaining group, Aroura, Ouessum, Rene, Bola, Adewale and bitten Greco head to the elevator shaft. When the teacher Zombie appears they wound her by shooting out her knees and they following the leave of Rene, Bola and Greco start playing with her. This pisses Adewale off as he remembers his childhood in Nigeria and he confronts Bola. The wedge has now been driven between the brothers and the scene was the final straw in there separation. Bola sees his brother as siding with the cops instead of him. He is young and impulsive and when they get down the elevator shaft to within a few floors of the basement he and Greco take all the guns and leave the rest defenseless. We do not really have to be told what Bola's fate will be choosing a soon to be zombie over his brother.
The final push is on in this flick with the weaponless group making for the caretakers apartment because Rene knows he was a gun nut. We get to see the horde pressing up against the locked front of the apartment. Re-armed there is the final sprint to the car park. The horde breaches the building ratcheting up the pace and the gunfire. We have who will survive in the final minutes of what has been a very good zombie film. There is an epic last stand for one of the cast. Adewale finds out what happened to his brother and then gets to dole out some vengeance on the zombie Greco. This scene is very reminiscent of actor JoePrestia death in the movie "Irreversible" where he played the rapist of of victim Monica Bellucci, that being one of the most horrible unwatchable scenes on film, not his death but his crime that is. The downer but appropriate ending was one this reviewer could live with. On a second viewing this movie like the earlier reviewed "The Human Centipede" comes out with higher marks than I gave it the first time through. This is a very well written and directed film for a genre that is difficult to do well. Seeing it on the big screen was a pleasure as my first viewing was a home.
Rating (7.6) 5.0 and up are recommended, In the Zombiegrrlz System I say Go see it in theaters.