The Horde (French: La Horde) is a French horror film co-written and directed by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher. It stars Claude Perron, Jean-Pierre Martins, Eriq Ebouaney and Aurélien Recoing.
Set predominantly in a condemned and dilapidated high-rise apartment block, The Horde is famous for switching tones in surprising fashion. Going from a cop-vengeance action/drama to a full-on zombie horror in an instant.
A unit of French cops are after revenge for the murder of one of their own. They know who did it, an infamous drug dealer and they know where he is. The plan is to sneak in, take him and his men out and then get out of there.
Unfortunately, their plan goes wrong thanks to one of the last residents, one of the cops is killed and the rest are captured. Held at gunpoint by a set of ruthless killers, things look bleak for the police until a sudden reanimation of the dead creates chaos.
Able to deal with the first few, the two sides find themselves trapped inside the decaying building as the dead arrive in droves below. Can they co-exist to find a way out?
What The Horde lacks in originality, it makes up for in gritty zombie horror. Considering the year this was released, it really should have gotten more attention for making the living dead scary again.
These zombies are the infected type. Fast moving, ferocious and their bites are deadly. How and why they exist is never really explored although we do get some hints and a rooftop view of Paris under siege.
Having no explanation isn’t an issue though, we have zombies and they’re here to kill all. What The Horde is good at is the visceral violence and its characters. Now it should be noted, that there are very few likable characters here. The police are corrupt and selfish, the drug dealers are murderers and all-round bad dudes. However, the actors that portray them are phenomenal and give them such life, you can’t help but root for them.
Special mention has to go to Eriq Ebouaney who plays the head of the drug-dealers, Adewale Markudi. His relationship with his younger brother, Bola (Doudou Masta) is incredible to watch and a later scene is genuinely disturbing, such is the passion he puts into his performance.
Of course, what we all want from a zombie horror is good zombie action and The Horde delivers it. The filthy and gritty location adds a lot, the darkness obscuring the threat and the scale of the problem not revealed until the latter part of the film. There are times when it slows down just a little too much and one corridor scene is so dark, it’s hard to know what is going on. However, for the most part, we’re up close for the gory violence.
Chucking in a delightfully downbeat ending, an incredible standoff in the garage and a Gatling gun/grenade segment ensures The Horde proves itself to be a delight of a zombie horror movie.
The Horde (2009)
The Final Score - 7.5/10