31 Days of Halloween — Day 15: The Horde (2009) — by Dr. Shock

hordeEditor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast and the Land of the Creeps horror podcast. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.

Early on in George Romero’s 1978 film Dawn of the Dead, there’s a scene in which a Philadelphia SWAT team raids an apartment complex, and are immediately fired upon by some of its residents. It isn’t long, though, before the dead come back to life, forcing both the police and the criminals to turn their attention (and their fire power) towards this new, but incredibly lethal, threat.

This is but one of many engaging sequences in this classic film, and runs for approximately 5-10 minutes. In the 2009 French horror movie The Horde, directors Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher stretch this same scenario into a feature length motion picture, and with its wall-to-wall action and bloodshed it proves to be a heck of a wild ride.
Looking to avenge the murder of one of their own, a group of vigilante cops, including Aurore (Claude Perron), Quessem (Jean-Pierre Martins) and Jimenez (Aurélien Recoing), raid the Paris tenement building that houses the notorious Markudi brothers, Adewale (Eriq Ebouaney) and Bola (Doudou Masta), and their posse of drug dealers. A shootout ensues, and when the smoke clears, the Markudis have killed several policemen and take the rest prisoner.

But their victory is short-lived, because moments after the melee ends, the gang is attacked by a handful of ravenous zombies! From the looks of it, the entire building has been overrun by the living dead, and both the Markudi brothers and the remaining cops realize that, to survive this terrifying ordeal, they’re going to have to team up.

For every single one of its 90 minutes, The Horde is in an all-out adrenaline rush. The opening firefight between the cops and the bad guys is plenty intense, but pales in comparison to the insanity that follows soon after. Borrowing a page from the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, the undead masses in The Horde move pretty fast, which makes trying to stay ahead of them that much more difficult. And, of course, when the zombies do grab a hold of someone, the blood flies in every direction.

As if all this wasn’t crazy enough, there’s the added layer of tension that exists between the police and the Markudi gang, whose uneasy alliance is always hanging by a thread. Throw in a heavily-armed middle aged-maniac named René (Yves Pignot), who joins the fun at about the movie’s midway point, and you have an action-packed zombie film that rarely stops to take a breath.

— Dr. Shock

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4 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 15: The Horde (2009) — by Dr. Shock


    Day 15 – Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

    Earlier in the month, I reviewed the great Italian film, What Have You Done to Solange? In that review, I had to be very careful with spoilers because so much of the quality of the film is tied around those spoilers. You don’t want to reveal those spoilers to someone and ruin that great experience of surprises. Now, Tetsuo, that’s a whole different story. In theory, I could reveal every single potential spoiler and it won’t matter. The story of Tetsuo isn’t the reason to watch the film. The value of the film is that it’s truly an unique experience. You watch it for the crazy visuals, the sound effects, the music, and the arthouse like feel of it all.

    Story wise, there’s not much of a narrative at play. I’d argue Tetsuo feels more like a music video that a band like Nine Inch Nails or Tools would be responsible for making. Although the film is relatively short at just an hour and seven minutes long, it takes ages before you can really notice the story at play. Being that I watched this in two sittings, my interpretation of the first half of the film was entirely different from the full movie experience. In the first half, it feels as if there’s a zombie-like plague occurring in Japan with anyone infected becoming part-man/part-metal. I saw this as an unique take on perhaps AIDS since I got the impression everything represented a sexually transmitted disease being passed around since the main guy in the film catches it from a woman out in public (Some random hook-up?) and seems to later pass it on to his girlfriend. While I wouldn’t say this is an accurate interpretation of the film, I do find it’s an interesting one when you only focus on the first half of the film.

    Once you get to the second half, everything becomes much clearer, even if it’s disturbing and one of the biggest WTF movies you can watch. The story is essentially a revenge tale. The villain of the story was a guy with some weird fetish for metal and after freaking out following jamming a piece of a metal rod in his leg, he gets accidentally struck by a car driven by Tetsuo and his girlfriend. Just like in I Know What You Did Last Summer, the couple opts to just dump the body in the middle of the woods to avoid any of that silly police business. The guy with the metal fetish, either back from the dead or having somehow survived, returns to take revenge on the couple that left him for dead. He causes Tetsuo to gain this bizarre infection that resulted in the character gaining hunks of metal all over his body (The iron man~!), one of which was a large metal drill which replaced his genitals. It’s that drill that caused the death of the girlfriend. The finale saw the battle of Tetsuo vs the man with the metal fetish, with our flawed hero trying to survive and his foe trying to absorb Tetsuo into becoming a bigger metal creature to take over the world.

    Visually, it’s all shot in black-and-white, giving it an unique look right away. There’s a lot of cutaways, sped up scenes, stop motion, and Tetsuo in general looks so weird as he slowly begins adding more metal to his body. The sound effects for the movie was fantastic. It’s the first and only time I’ve wondered who handled the gaffer responsibilities on a movie. I couldn’t find a credit on IMDb, but since he is credited for most of the crew roles, I’m going to assume director, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, is the man who deserves the praise. There was a lot of care given towards the sound effects so that everything made a noise and it stood out. The sound of the metal stood out the most to me, especially during one scene where a metal fork kept scratching against teeth. The industrial soundtrack is all thanks to Chu Ishikawa. Even if you don’t believe Tetsuo is a movie that you could get through, I’d advise you to still go on Youtube and look up the soundtrack.

    While I wouldn’t say the movie is too heavy on horror, there are a couple good horror scenes. The first comes as Tetsuo is running through the secrets, hoping to escape from the woman originally infected by the man with the metal fetish. She had some killer jerking motions where all of her movements looked unnatural. There’s a certain believable fear of having to run for your life from something that you don’t even know what it is. All you know is that you’re in danger. The second clear horror scene comes later on as Tetsuo begins transforming into the iron man and ends up terrorizing his girlfriend. They handled this nicely by only slowly revealing more and more of Tetsuo’s body. Add in the moment where Tetsuo’s now fully metal arm breaks through the door, you have some really strong horror vibes.

    It’s safe to say the biggest negative this film has going for itself is it’s lack of clear narrative. It’s not going to be for a lot of people. There’s nothing wrong with that either. Even though I found the movie really interesting, it’s not one I feel I can watch frequently. It may just be over an hour long, but even that may be far too long for some. So I would suggest that if you’re into watching weird movies and you’re tired of the same story being told in countless movies, Tetsuo may just be the sort of movie that you’re looking for. I’d also say I was a little disappointed by the fact that the film was shot in black-and-white. While that’s certainly a style, with the movie relying so heavily on freaky visuals, they could have shown so much more with a little color. The black-and-white felt limiting. With a film as utterly mad as Tetsuo, you’re either going to find it interesting or you’re not going to be able to sit through it. While the list of negatives may be rather short, I would imagine anyone who dislikes it is going to claim it’s because it’s so bizarre and nonsensical.

    Overall, I can honestly claims Tetsuo, The Iron Man, is the single strangest film I’ve ever watched. It was worth watching just for the ability to randomly name drop Tetsuo in the future when it comes to discussing random movies. That value of watching a movie for the sake of being able to say I’ve watched it is the whole reason why I suffered through Salò just about a decade ago. The story may be thin, but you’re witnessing something so bizarre that you’re left curious as to what will be shown next. Your best chances of getting through the film is watching it with a few buddies so you can hang out, laugh at some of the absurdity of it all, and then discuss what the hell you had just watched. Now, all that’s left to do is to await the nightmares I’m sure I’ll be having in the coming days.

    Rating: 8.0

  2. Day 15 – I Know What You Did Last Summer

    Well, it’s no Scream… and I’m sure that was much of the response when people first saw it. I should say though, it’s not bad… but it aint too good either. The highest praise should be given to three of the four leads including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillippe. Poor Freddy Prince Jr. is handily overshadowed by his 3 co-stars. The weakness hear is that it’s marketed as a slasher, but the plot is much more similar to a murder mystery drama. Ultimately it ends up being not much of either. Not enough legitimate kills to make it a respectable slasher, and not enough mystery to make it a compelling mystery. It ends up being mystery by omission in the same fashion that Friday the 13th part 1 works. If you’re looking for a 90s horror film, you could do a lot worse, but this is nowhere near the camp of any of the Scream films. I would even go so far to say that I enjoy Urban Legend more. 5/10

  3. Day 15: Patient Seven (2016)

    Rating: 7.0/10 (rental)

    — — — — — Contains spoilers — — — — —

    What I liked:
    – The main narrative is probably the strongest and most fully realized of any horror anthology I’ve ever seen.
    – How the film introduces the segments as each patient’s story is brilliant.
    – The film is extremely atmospheric, with an excellent setting (mental institution) and a beautifully creepy score to match.
    – The segments are almost all very strong.
    – The over-the-top antics of Dr. Marcus all come together to make sense in the end.
    – “The Body” with Alfie Allen is such a standout segment.

    What I didn’t like:
    – Dr. Marcus’ dialogue felt a little stilted.
    – The first segment “The Visitant” was short and strong, but was marred by some really awful CGI.
    – “Death Scenes” was a sub-par segment.
    – Felt a little chintzy overall; hard to say why… maybe it was the dialogue.

  4. Day 15: Hatchet (2006)
    Rating: 6.5/10

    This was my first watch. I really enjoyed this film and will watch it many more times. The acting and direction are a little weak but overall a great early entry for Adam Green. Nice kills, good gore, and some decent comedy in Hatchet.

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