Is The Horde (2009) Zombie movie worth watching? La Horde Movie Review
Many things can change at MovBeans, but one thing will always remain constant - Our love for Zombies. But these last few years have been bit of a tumble for zombie genre. So, to reignite my love for this genre, I went back to a French cult classic movie - The Horde a.k.a La Horde. I am not kidding when I say this movie was very hard to find, I spent days trying to find this movie on online streaming platforms but then it turned out, it was available on YouTube for free all along and I felt like such a fool.
Anyways, The Horde is a 2009 French zombie-action movie with a huge emphasis on the word ACTION, because that's all you will get from this movie - intense adrenaline filled action sequences. This movie just excels in terms of action, probably contains one of the best zombie actions in the cinematic history. The zombies are fast, wild & really terrifying which makes up for some great fight sequences. But if the action of this movie is a high point, then to balance it out, there are some low points too.
For starters, it features the simple worn-out plot - survivors trying to survive a zombie apocalypse but the twist in The Horde is that the survivors contain a group of Cops & Criminals mixed together and they have to put their differences aside and unite together to fight the world ending disaster - zombies. If this sounds cool to you, then you are not wrong, it is indeed cool and plays out really well. The cop-criminal aspect makes up for some interesting dynamics. You have put two groups (who want to kill each other) in a single building which has been infested by blood-hungry zombies and now, they have to work together despite their different ideologies in life. There are lots of back-and-forth, shooting, gaining each other trust and some heavy gore which when combined wouldn't let you take your eyes off the screen even for a minute. But if you are looking for some new heavy plot-infused movie, then you are in for a disappointment. The plot is a generic one filled with a little family drama but not too bad to make you feel bored.
One of the most important factors for me in a zombie movie is the world-building. Things like zombie apocalypse is far from reality so, us zombie fans want to see a zombie-infected world through the director's eye. Show us the visuals of city or supermarket or train station filled with brain-eating zombies and we will be satisfied. But these things are bit absent from The Horde. It focuses so much time on characters and their internal rivalries that the zombies seem underdeveloped. There's no origin of zombies, just a hint of what might have happened, no explanation of their agile capabilities and no visuals of spreading of this epidemic.
Don't get me wrong, this movie does focus on zombies but it is mainly used to introduce them to our characters. The thing which I love the most about this movie is the build up to certain scenes. You have a character just standing in some place and suddenly intense background music starts to play, something sinister is going to happen to him, but the music just stops, a complete silence revolves all around the room, and then suddenly a zombie just ramps towards the character biting his neck off in such a gruesome way that it will disgust you as well as satisfy your gory needs.
Plus, how else would it be a horror movie or a zombie movie if the characters don't make dumb decisions. No matter if your character holds a PhD degree, if it comes down to them being in an intense terrifying situation, they will say or do the dumbest things ever known to humankind. (Some minors spoilers ahead, don't worry, it won't ruin your movie experience) In The Horde, a character out of nowhere decides to be a sacrificial lamb so that the people he met freaking few hours ago could survive. It may sound climatic but there are people in real life who would not even sacrifice their sleep for the love of their life (obviously not me), and this guy sacrificed his life. Maybe, I am just dumb enough to not recognize the sudden surge of humanity in humans.
Also, characters in this movie don't seem to learn from their mistakes & experiences. No matter what happens, they just don't realize to shoot zombies in the head. This makes up for some cool hand to hand combat sequences but also makes me worry about their IQs.
But not everything is substandard about this movie. The soundtrack and the background music of La Horde rock. The movie uses its background music excellently to build up certain scenes. The action sequences are certainly the highlight of this movie and they get even more enhanced by that magnificent music.
La Horde also uses some old editing techniques. It uses slow motion at strange places, like if a character is shot and is falling down, then he falls down in slow motion. At first, these slow-motion scenes indeed feel weird but then soon as the movie goes on, you become accustomed to them. But I won't blame the directors, Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher, for this. The camera angles and direction choices in this movie really complement the overall vibe.
Plus, most of the movie is shot in a single building which makes the shots & colour grading a bit dark. At times, I had to increase the brightness of my screen in order to see what was really going on. But still, at other shots the clever use of lightning saves the day.
Zombie Action in La Horde (2009)
After talking about literally every other thing in the movie, it's finally the time to shine a light on the action sequences. La Horde contains some intense action sequences, whether it's a small fight in a room or an action sequence containing 100s of zombies, this movie nails every single one of them. Two actions sequences in particular, one in the climax and the other involving Aurore (Claude Perron), have become my personal favourites. Hand to hand combat sequences in zombie movies are somewhat rare to see, but La Horde showed that if done appropriately, hand-to-hand fights can really boost up the quality of your action sequences. I mean it when I say that these grounded fight sequences with zombies were a treat to watch.
The gore and violence are laden in this movie like pieces of chicken in my dinner - A LOT. When a zombie is killed, it is killed in such a grisly way that it will be like an oasis for hungry eyes of gore fans. Even simple things like zombie biting a human or human fighting among themselves are shown in an explicit appalling way.
Many action sequences in movies now-a-days lack that adrenaline factor in them but that's not the case with La Horde. The action sequences are choreographed in such a wonderful way that they will make you root for our characters as well as the intensity will make your adrenaline spike. So, no matter if you watch zombie movies for gore or the action sequences, La Horde will satisfy every action need of yours.
Conclusion of The Horde Movie Review
The Horde (or La Horde) is a pleasant addition to the zombie genre. It tried to do something new with its action sequences and that’s where the movie shines the most, but it still ended up with a pretty generic worn-out plot. The characters are well written and the dynamics between cops & criminals make up for some interesting scenarios. But despite being a zombie film, the zombie world-building seems underdeveloped with characters (humans) taking most of the focus, which was a fine thing to do because it makes you connect & root for the characters but a bit more focus on the reanimated undead would have done wonders to this film.
The movie should satisfy the fans of zombie-action. Filled with intensity, gore, blood & violence, every action sequence is carefully choreographed and successfully manages to give the audience that much needed adrenaline spike. The hand to hand combat scenes add to the beauty of the fight sequences and the stable camera angles are chef’s kiss.
It’s a far from perfect zombie movie but does the job it intends - entertain its audience. Watch The Horde if you are craving for some zombie action but skip it if you are looking for some new & different plot from the rest of this genre.