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La Horde (France, 2009)

Not bad for a French zombie movie.

Normally, a zombie movie, let alone a French one, wouldn't be my first pick. But hey, a change is as good as a rest. My experience of zombie moves is limited to 'Shaun of the Dead', so I'm probably not the best qualified reviewer. Fans of the genre will be disappointed by my inability to place 'La Horde' in the panoply of zombie movies. Plus, I'm pretty averse to films containing guns, blood or violence of any kind. Although killing the undead doesn't bother me so much.

The story begins normally enough. I'll explain it, because I'm not sure it's that easy to follow unless you've read a synopsis. The body right at the beginning of the film is a police officer. Then, the people who are talking to his widow at the funeral are his colleagues. They decide to seek revenge on his killers. They are the same guys who turn up in balaclavas at the tower block where the baddies are hiding out. So far, it's your regular thriller.

It takes a full 20 minutes for the first zombie to turn up and eat the Czech. Then another 5 minutes for them to realise that something is seriously wrong. And then another minute for them to realise that they are screwed. Fair point. Given that the building is surrounded by hordes of zombies; they are trapped on the roof, and their only escape route is down the stairs and out into the horde of zombies, it wasn't looking good. I was curious how the next hour was going to be filled.

I think I take these things too seriously. I mean. Is it not the whole point of being a zombie that you are the undead? Therefore you cannot be killed. Not ever. Ever. Well, apparently not. There are lots of things zombies don't need to worry about. You can't be killed by a fit, strong, fully grown man. If he is carrying a gun and fires at you, you will survive. If he is carrying a machine gun and empties his magazine into you, it might take you a bit longer to get up again, but you will still survive. However, take care around women. Especially if she is small, and standing behind a fridge. You should also know that old men are potentially fatal to zombies. Take particular care if he has a pickaxe.

No-one stands out in the cast except to say that Claude Perron as the female lead screams farrr too much. And it's not often these days that you see the stereotype of the black guys as the baddies and the white guys as the goodies, but the French are still a bit backward in this respect.

It's OK enough. There's sufficient going on character-wise to compensate for the lack of plot. There are intended touches of black humour, along with the unintended ones. Speaking of which - the budget clearly wasn't spent on subtitling. Look out, towards the beginning, when the first zombie turns up and is chewing the head off the Czech. One of the baddies, staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed, gasps "putain de merde". It's hilariously translated as 'My Goodness'.

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