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Rammbock / Siege of the Dead – a review

February 4, 2011

First of all: Siege of the Dead is yet another boring, unoriginal name given to a zombie movie. Or any …of the Dead for that matter, not including Shaun. So in this review I will be talking about a movie named Rammbock, which you might see sold under the title Siege of the Dead. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get on with the review, shall we?

Rammbock is a German short movie (albeit with a 59 minute running time) by Marvin Kren and Benjamin Hessler about, yes, a zombie catastrophe. It’s a story about a man named Michael who comes to Berlin to find his girlfriend and then things go wrong. Sounds simple? It is.

Rammbock’s a very well put together film. The scenes are intense, the pacing is nice, the cinematography solid and the soundtrack fine too. Come to think of it, this is one of the nicest looking, feeling and sounding zombie movies I’ve seen in a while.

How often have you found yourself watching a zombie movie, and thinking what you would do in a situation like that? I do it a lot, and so one of my most important criteria when reviewing zombie flicks is how believable the actions of the characters are. Rammbock excels here. The main character is what you might call an average Joe. Maybe even a bit below average. He’s under the heel of his significant other, balding, a bit neurotic…come to think of it, he’s pretty much one of the supporting characters that gets bumped off early on in zombie cinema, except that now it’s his time to shine. None of the other characters are action heroes either. There are no cops or military types. They have no guns or fire axes, nothing like that. There’s a slingshot, a digital camera and a cell phone, though.

I mentioned the movies pacing before. Rammbock’s well crafted, and the story flows along pretty nicely. There is enough peace and quiet to make the action interesting, and enough action to keep the movie from getting dull. The 59 minute running time is right about perfect, and I think a lot of zombie movie makers could learn from this. If you don’t have a story for a 90 minute movie, don’t stretch 60 minutes worth of story into 90. There’s an hour’s worth of story in Rammbock, and that hour is well spent. I salute the movie’s creators for managing to make a 59 minute movie and still leave room for character development and quiet, beautiful scenes. The movie even feels a bit artsy at times, in a good way. It’s more about the feelings of despair and loneliness in a terrible situation than about howling bloodthirsty undead cannibals, even if they’re present.

So, anything wrong with the movie? Not much in my opinion. It might be a bit too slow a peaceful for some people, and some might not like the whole artsy feel. While I’ve commended the movie’s pacing, it did feel just a bit rushed towards the end.

Overall verdict: Rammbock is a great little movie, and I think it’s one of the most realistic (for want of a better word) portrayals of a zombie catastrophe scenario, with believable characters, an everyday setting and not too much heroism. Since it’s not brimming with over the top violence and action, it’s also one of those movies that might be worth showing to people who usually aren’t too partial to zombie flicks.

There’s one thing I need to point out here. I find it atrocious that a film like Rammbock is quickly slapped on dvd, renamed Siege of the Dead and described like this:

With astonishing special effects and a riveting storyline, Siege Of The Dead is a thrilling gorefest laced with pitch-black humour, high tension and shocking scares.

Instead of saying what I said, above. The movie is simply not a gorefest, nor does it have a lot of scares or almost any special effects to talk of.

For crying out loud, the Siege of the Dead cover art (unlike the movie itself) has a helicopter firing missiles. No, really, it has. Compare that to the poster shown at the start of this post, and there are two entirely different films here. Except that Siege as pictured does not exist.

If you can live with the cover, you can get Rammbock (clad in its awful, false skin) for cheap at Play.com or Amazon.

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3 comments

  1. Good review, very informative and I cannot believe the seige of the dead has a helicopter on the box but none in the movie.Amazing the steps companies will take to jazz up a production.


    • Thanks for the comment. The whole Siege of the Dead thing is so silly, the companies really are stooping low. I guess they think that that’s what sells.


  2. […] the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to the indie+German+zombies scene, I’ve so far seen a hit and a miss. Let’s hope for more of the […]



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