La Horde – a review

June 28, 2010

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: when it comes to making entertaining zombie movies these days, Europe is soundly kicking the US around. The latest in a line of European zombie goodness is a film that I’ve frothed over before: La Horde, by Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher.

I loved La Horde, and it now holds a place in my mind as one of the top (something) zombie movies ever. And why is that? It’s better than the sum of its parts. Let’s take a look.

The premise of the movie is very simple. Gangsters kill a cop, cops go for revenge, zombie apocalypse happens and cops and gangsters have to work together to survive. Nothing massively original here.

The main characters are pretty much what you would expect. The intelligent but ruthless gangster boss and his murderous, brutal little brother. The tough but mostly honest cops. The crazed French Vietnam veteran…as said, pretty much what you would expect. There is a lot of wasted potential here, with unanswered questions and characters that could’ve easily been given more depth and explored in detail.

The acting is fine. Nothing special, the word “solid” springs to mind.

The dialogue has its moments, but yet again, nothing really memorable. Like the characters, there could’ve been much more here.

The zombies? They’re of the nowadays typical, running variety.

The gore? Existent, but not excessive. Nothing special.

The visuals? Dark and grimy. Lots of quick cuts and even some camera shake. Industry standard.

…and suprisingly out of all these unremarkable elements emerges one of the most entertaining zombie flicks in a while.

Actually, I think that entertaining is the operative word here. While La Horde may lack the social commentary of Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead, the lovable characters of Bio Zombie or Shaun of the Dead or the sheer gripping horror of REC, it is a very enjoyable piece of zombie cinema. It’s both the movie’s strongest and its weakest point: it doesn’t try anything new or fancy, but what it does, it does very well.

La Horde is a poster boy for contemporary zombie movies, and that’s why a review of it turns into a review of today’s zombie movies in general. It looks good, it’s packed with action and consequently paints the zombies as a very immediate, shocking threat, instead of creating the sense of despair prevalent in Romero’s original trilogy. It’s very much a win some-lose some scenario, as some – but not all – character building in the form of dialogue and actor performance must be sacrificed to make room for action. On the other hand it makes for a movie in which action is plentiful and which never really gets boring or creeps along at a snail’s pace.

Overall verdict: Whether you’ll like La Horde depends very much on what you’re looking for in a zombie flick. If it’s character development, a look at contemporary society and moral content, you’ll probably be better off elsewhere. I’m not saying that those things are nonexistent in La Horde, there are simply other movies that focus more on such genre aspects. If, however, you’re in the mood for a grim and gritty French cop flick with zombies, you’re in paradise.

La Horde is coming to DVD on July 7, and should be available in VOD services this summer.

Here’s the official site, and there’s a trailer below if you want to see what the movie is all about.


  1. I watched this and Mutants on your recommendation and I loved both of them, thanks!

    Got any more goodies (new and old) for us?


    • Thanks for the comment, Jules! Glad I could provide something useful. Nothing really interesting on the radar right now. Oldies? Well, they’re not really oldies, but definitely see Dead Set if you haven’t already. Last of the Living is fun as well. Doghouse is groovy, and Outpost is well worth the watch too, even if it’s not a zombie flick per se.


  2. […] film is one of my favourites. I posted on it on December 3rd 2009 and later did a full review on it. Get it, it’s available on […]


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