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(aka "The Horde" )

 

directed by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher
France 2009

 

After one of their number is found tortured and murdered in a landfill, a group of cops including vengeful friend Jimenez (Aurelien Recoing, LA FIDELITE), principled Ouessem (Jean-Pierre Martins, EMPIRE OF THE WOLVES) and his brother Tony (Antoine Oppenheim), and Aurore (Claude Perron, AMELIE) - who is pregnant by the married dead man - go rogue to take out his mobster killers who are shacked up in the top floors of a condemned apartment building. The tables are quickly turned and the surviving cops are tortured by the mobsters lead by Adewale (Eriq Ebouaney, Park Chan-Wook's THIRST) and his brother Bola (rapper Doudou Masta). The beatings and executions are broken up when one of the dead men gets up and takes a chunk out of one of the mobsters and it takes a substantial amount of artillery to take him out. When the cops and mobsters discover the streets suddenly overrun with flesh-craving zombies and their dead compatriots getting up for a bite, they must reluctantly work together to survive the zombie apocalypse. That's really all there is to the film plot-wise (the running time is padded out by 7 minutes of end credits that had me hoping in vain for some surprise bit after the credits; although it seems to have generously credited every single zombie extra). The group run around the decrepit apartment building, separate intentionally and unintentionally, fight off zombies who pop out of nowhere, betray one another, and dwindle in their numbers. The plot is peopled with the usual characters: the wounded coward who only thinks about his own survival (although the source of his demise was unexpected), the vulnerable-yet-strong female, characters who leave the others high and dry and get their karmic comeuppance, the bitten guy who runs towards the horde with guns blazing and machete swinging, and another self-sacrificing worn-out guy who busts out a grenade as the zombies close in. The late introduction of axe-toting grizzled Rene (Yves Pignot, ECOUTE LE TEMPS) breaks up the monotony and adds some humor. The press materials call this "one of the most awesome, edge-of-your-seat, close-combat human versus zombie beat-downs ever committed to film." They got the beat-down part right. Zombies take chunks out of victims and then hurl them at other would-be victims while humans tackle, head-butt, body-slam, and kick-box the undead when guns and machetes simply won't do (at times, one almost feels sorry for the zombies). Much of the gore is of the CGI variety with prosthetic effects ranging from okay to fairly gruesome (particularly one "you killed my brother" head-slamming bit towards the end). The constant use of rapidly edited multiple angle takes of impacts is more distracting than invigorating. Although Perron is kick-ass fighting zombies hand-to-hand (a memorable setpiece) and brandishing a machine gun, her intentionally glum characterization and some of her actions make her hard to root for (although by this point, the script has eked out some sympathy for mobster Adewale). Only Ebouaney and Pignot muster some depth beyond the shouting. Jo Prestia's (13 TZAMETI) thug is particularly slimy but you find yourself rooting for him when he takes on two zombies unarmed at once. Neither arty (despite some artful compositions like several shots of the zombies faces pressed against the smudgy glass lobby doors and the lengthy zombie mosh pit scene late in the film) nor a more extreme example of new French horror, THE HORDE feels more like a crowd-pleasing compromise between "hardcore" horror and more mainstream zombie pics of late (with a downbeat ending that feels more mock-cynical than genuine).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 10 February 2010 (Belgium)

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Comparison: 

Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Alliance Atlantis

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:32:48 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:48.844
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.54 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 25,174,473,711 bytes

Feature Size: 21,851,953,152 bytes

Average Bitrate: 19.81 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate DVD

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio French Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio English 3967 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3967 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3097 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3097 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, none English, French, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Momentum Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Making of (16:9; 19:47 - in French with English subtitles)
• Deleted Scene 1: Cemetery and alley (16:9; 8:12 - in French with English subtitles )
• Deleted Scene 2: Back to the safehouse (16:9; 8:09 - in French with English subtitles)
• Deleted Scene 3: Tony tends to his wounds (16:9 1:53 - in French with English subtitles)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:43 - in French with English subtitles)
• Storyboards
• Start-up trailers for THE CRAZIES (remake), DEAD CERT, and THE BLEEDING

DVD Release Date: 20 September 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Alliance

 

Disc Size: 25,174,473,711 bytes

Feature Size: 21,851,953,152 bytes

Average Bitrate: 19.81 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• Making of (19:47 - in French with English subtitles)
• Deleted Scene 1: Cemetery and alley (8:12 - in French with English subtitles )
• Deleted Scene 2: Back to the Safehouse  8:09 - in French with English subtitles)
• Deleted Scene 3: Tony tends to his wounds (1:53 - in French with English subtitles)
• Storyboards

Blu-ray Release Date: October 26th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 21

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Alliance Region 'A' Blu-ray - (November 2010) - Firstly, the film is almost amusing in its own excesses (meaning 'zombies' and 'violence'). I can't imagine fans who indulge in this genre wanting much more - it's quite a supercilious ride that you're not likely to forget.

The Alliance Blu-ray advances in the expected areas. Actually you can see the solid detail of the Blu-ray by clicking to see the 1080 resolution captures - it can look impressive. The dark green and drab colors match up well with the SD - in fact the DVD appears quite strong but larger systems will notice the visual Blu-ray improvement. It is definitely there - brighter, better contrast and everything tightens up well. Digital noise, even in the darker sequences, is not a prevalent issue. There is some very nice, fine, textures which, I assume, is from a bump to 35mm. Incidentally, the Blu-ray doesn't have the PAL speed-up that the Momentum does - for those who are sensitive.

Audio-wise - we get a very dynamic DTS-HD Master 5.1 in French, and an English DUB - both at over 3000 kbps. The lossless original language track has definite aggression with punchy, bass-pulsing gunfire and plenty of effects sounds from shrieks and screams to other 'zombie grunt/wail noises'. It has some range and depth. I must say, this is quite a decent audio rendering.  There are optional English and French subtitles and my Momitsu confirms that the disc is region 'A'-locked.

Supplements duplicate the Momentum DVD with the same 'making of, Deleted Scenes and Storyboards (see Eric's descriptions below). We lose the trailer and previews.

I'm usually not a fan of excessive violence but it is done with such a gratuitous hand I almost thought this would work better as a Grindhouse parody-adventure with some subtle satire dialogue thrown in here and there. Anyway, for those interested in the most impacting film experience - this Blu-ray wins hands down. I suggest putting your seatbelt on before pressing the 'play' button.

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Momentum Pictures' DVD presents a dual-layer, anamorphic transfer with original 5.1 French (at 448 kps) and English (at 384 kps) dubbed audio and optional English subtitles. Shot in HD, the image is smooth and mostly free of video grain; although sometimes the aggressive digital color timing is sometimes at odds with the original photography (still frames of the gunfire flashes have the kind of noise one would get turning up the brightness all the way on an image in Photoshop or a like program).

 

18 minutes of deleted scenes - including some much-needed dialogue between the four cop characters that better defined the tensions later in the film as well as a scene of the cops beating a suspect that casts two of them in a permanently-negative light that the film was wise to lose - are also on hand with English subtitles. The scenes are presented in context and in much the same condition quality-wise as the finished film (which makes sense as some territories like Germany got a longer cut of the film which - from descriptions - includes bits from the deleted scenes). The press release lists among the extras zombie concept art, a short film, and an Easter Egg but they were not present on this seemingly complete check disc. The available French TF1 DVD and Blu-ray editions are reportedly not English-friendly. The film was picked up in the US by IFC Films but has not been announced for DVD by MPI or Genius Products as yet. English-friendly DVD and Blu-ray editions will be available in Canada in October from Alliance.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



Menus

 

Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM


Subtitle samples

 


Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


  Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Alliance Atlantis

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




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