B-Movie Classics: In the game of The Horde, you die or you die

In the second of our series of noir crime thrillers that suddenly turn into supernatural horror halfway through, we're going to be looking at French, Romero-homage-fest La Horde.

There is a fair amount of originality on show here along with the recreation of familiar themes, but is it actually worth your time? Hit the jump to find out:

Yaargh! Here be spoilers!
A crack team of police officers attend the funeral of one of their colleagues who was kidnapped and murdered by a vicious gang. Another of their team is still missing. The wife of the dead officer begs them not to do anything rash.

In the dead of night, they don balaclavas and slip into a near-abandoned block of flats. They sneak up to the floor the gang inhabits and try to catch them unaware. Suffice to say, it does not go well.

The police end up with their heads against the wall and the gang about to execute them, with some of them dying and others already gone. Then, suddenly, ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!

A fresh corpse springs back to life and is joined by a whole "horde" of comrades who appear outside and lay siege to the building. The view from the roof also makes clear that this is not an isolated incident and the whole of Paris is burning.

The zombies look great and there's a genuine sense of just how hard it would be to fight something that felt no pain and had no fear of injury. Otherwise, their modus operandi is a complete mystery. We never discover why the dead are rising, whether this is a supernatural or scientific phenomenon or even what their purpose is. The only clue seems to be a propensity for chowing down on their victims and one character's theory that the basement where they store their soon-to-be undead bounty is a larder.

With no rhyme or reason to the outbreak, the criminals, police and the surviving inhabitants of the flats are left to simply worry about survival, in contradiction to what brought them to the building in the first place.

What follows is not the greatest movie ever made, there's a distinct  'disposable' feel to the proceedings and I doubt it's a film you'll come back to often. However, there are some colourful characters who follow plausible arcs, tense drama and exceptional bleakness. At times, characters share touching moments of bonding, but may well end up killing each other in the next scene. There are solid performances throughout, though not a familiar name in sight, and some nice directorial flourishes. Definitely a film to catch if you can.

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