...and the trouble she discovers.
La Horde is a 2009 French zombie film which was purchased and released by IFC. Within this reality the living dead encountered are quick, cunning, and deliberately brutal. The plot takes off quickly with the death of a beloved police officer after a drug deal goes wrong involving the local Nigerian drug lord. As a rag tag team of fellow officers band together for vengeance mysterious circumstances lead to a zombie apocalypse.
Plans go awry once the groups cover is blown by an angry super and a few members go down quickly. Coinciding with this event is the first appearance made by the zombies. Starting from the roof the surviving mix of criminals and cops must team together to make it out alive. Obviously this does not bode well with several members of each team. The movie does an excellent job of keeping you on your toes as you sway between which person you may be considering the best contender for the next live meal.
Set entirely in a multi-level decaying apartment building one would think that it’d be hard to make an aesthetically pleasing film. Surprisingly the director achieves this with ease. While the movie is a bit stylized I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere as well as the gore. There are a few brow raising CGI scenes, however, the over all effect is a bloody good time.
The dialog is something else all together. Having watched the subtitle version I’m entirely unsure if it was the interpretation or if writers actually penned some of the craziest lines I have ever read. No matter, the outcome was found to be extremely entertaining to say the least.
La Horde is fast paced and quite the ride. If you enjoy an old fashioned kick ass time with beautiful cinematography then I highly suggest this film. It never becomes tiresome and will keep your hope alive until the very end.
4 out of 5 stars.
The 2010 French film Mutants was immediately suggested to me after my recent review of La Horde. Not much information was given to me at that time except that it is another French zombie flick that is not only preferred over Horde but should also be considered a Netflix Streaming Gem.
After watching I must advise anyone who is interested that while the term zombie is used in reference to this film it may not technically be so. There is a virus sweeping the country turning humans into blood thirsty creatures. This virus is spread through the traditional biting method that flesh eating bad guys seem to enjoy, however, a bullet through the brain is not the only way to kill these monsters. Also; it doesn’t appear that the host to the virus must die before returning to cause mayhem. Instead, over a several day period, the host will physically transform by losing their hair and human facial features. The host will also begin going mad and lose all control over their actions.
Mutants begins with a literal explosion of gore. I can only liken this to a ripened tomato being splattered against the ground after a considerable fall. You’re immediately introduced to the films protagonist, Sonia and Marco, a couple who dabble in the art of ambulance driving. Accompanying them is a mad female soldier who loses a short scuffle with the happy EMS duo. Marco narrowly escapes his own death with just a bullet in the abdomen. Sonia seeks refuge in an abandoned building found deep in the snow covered woods where she nurses her beloved husband back to health. Sonia also attempts to make radio contact with NOAH; a rumored army base where survivors may be gathering.
As the two main characters spend several days alone awaiting their rescue Sonia watches as Marco succumbs to the virus. She reveals that she could be immune but after a quick blood exchange Marco falls to the madness of the transformation. Sonia then discovers that not everyone she has been attempting to communicate with is as kind as she had hoped.
Mutants truly had the ability to be enjoyable but the nonexistent character development leaves the audience feeling stunted. Compounding the problem is a shaky camera. Nearly all of the action captured on film is incomprehensable. I understand the shaky cam phenomenon but when I have to take off my glasses to un-focus my eyes you’ve lost me. This movie does bring some interesting ideas to the table but the painfully poor execution falls short of its potential. Since this movie can be found on streaming I wouldn’t stop you from giving it a watch but otherwise I’d suggest not bothering.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Repo! The Genetic Opera begins with a comic book panel animation detailing the rise of GeneCo; a for profit synthetic organ manufacturer. As the health of the worlds population declines due to organ failure GeneCo comes to the rescue. The corporation quickly discovers that there is a profit to be made in elective surgeries such as face transplants. The message here is that you can change everything you hate about yourself even if you’re on a budget.
Shilo, a seventeen year old girl who has been locked away due to a rare blood disease, is found in a grave yard where she first encounters a singing grave robber. Shilo passes out after entering a mass grave and awakens with her overbearing father, Nathan, by her side. Nathan makes a huge stink about her being far too ill to go outside then scolds her for not taking her medication.
Nathan leaves while crooning about the fact that he is the dreaded repo man who will sneak up behind you, wherever you may be, and take back the unpaid goods inside your body. Yes, it is now legal to kill, maim, and disfigure poor people for not staying current on their heart transplant. Boy, does Nathan love his job!
This is about the point I had to stop the movie. I made it a bit further however the synopsis really isn’t worth the read. These are my guesses as to how it ends:
1.) Shilo isn’t really ill and will soon discover that Pops murders for hire.
2.) Soon either Shilo, Nathan, or the pair will bring down the evil Gene Corporation during which guts will be spilled and poorly written songs will be performed.
The singing. Dear God, the singing. It’s bad but adding to it are the impossible lyrics / dialog. It’s crawling with so much teenage angst I truly wonder the age and maturity level of those who wrote it. The acting is so much worse and the costume design? Well, the costume design is so trite it appears that the entire cast was fitted in a hot topic outlet store.
It’s not often that I will review a movie that I haven’t completed, however, Repo! The Genetic Opera is a very special case. Everything involving this movie was done so poorly that I owe a warning to the movie watching community. Stay away from this dull clunker of a film. Sure, it’s dressed up as a darker, bloodier, version of your favorite horror movie but it’s a lie. If you need a fix of oddly clothed men who like to sing and dance I’d suggest Rocky Horror Picture Show. It may not be exactly what you’re looking for but at least you get to see some hot Tim Curry leg.
0.5 out of 5 stars.
The Signal is a 2008 independent release made with only $50,000. Promoted as a psychological horror it is told in three chapter by three separate directors; David Bruckner, Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry.
The story begins with two lovers in bed, Mya and Ben, who are woken from their slumber after a television in the room begins transmitting a strange moving picture and odd frequency. As Mya asks Ben what the time is she panics revealing that she is late in getting home to her husband. Upon her attempt to call her husband, Lewis, she finds that her cell phone is also making an odd noise. Despite Bens effort in keeping Mya at the apartment she must leave and they make a light hearted plan to meet at Terminal 13 the next day to leave Terminus forever.
On the way home Mya first runs into an irrational man who is in the parking garage. Mya successfully dodges the man and makes it home to find neighbors within her apartment building arguing with one another in the hallways. No one tries to stop her and once she’s safely inside her own home she locks the door. Mya finds Lewis and two other friends inside trying to fix the television on the basis that they’re missing a sports game. Lewis cross examines Mya solidifying the premise that the marriage is strained and he’s extremely suspicious of her whereabouts. While beginning to take a shower Mya peeks out of the bathroom door just in time to watch Lewis, enraged by a minor argument, beat his friend to death. Obviously panicked, Mya flees and seeks refuge in the apartment next door.
Once morning reaches Terminus Mya forces herself out of hiding and back into her own apartment. Lewis is found strapped to a chair and Mya silently makes the decision to leave him alone without help. While wearing headphone and listening to a mixed CD that Ben had given her the night before Mya leaves the apartment. Still in peril, and finally making it to her vehicle, the audience discovers that Ben has missed her by mere seconds.
With each director comes a unique style for every transmission of this film. The second chapter, Jealousy Monster, is starkly different in comparison to the other two and introduces black humor which fits perfectly for the newly acquainted character Clark. Clark quickly became my favorite personality in this film while he rationalizes why the signal is making people go mad and simultaneously tries to deal with Lewis who has now become a homicidal maniac.
With only $50,000 to complete this movie there are some obvious flaws, especially with physical continuity errors. With that said, though, I would like to say that The Signal is one of my top ten films of all time. I’m not sure if it’s the simple love story that runs throughout, the insecurity of what’s real and what’s being hallucinated, or if it’s just the bloody violence. It could possibly be the combination of all three but something about this movie has spoken to me. After watching it no less than a dozen times in a period of two weeks on Netflix Streaming I had to purchase it via Amazon Dot Com. I just had to own this gory fun treat.
4.5 out of 5 stars.