Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Had I been thinking I would have selected a slasher flick in honor of Friday the 13th. Sadly, me and thinking are like oil and something oil doesn’t like. So you get The Horde (Netflix) or, in the original French, La Horde. Thank God for Google translate, right? The Horde exists to remind us that the thing about zombie outbreaks is they catch you at the least convenient times. Like say, for example, when you and your fellow vigilante cops are in the middle of a vengeance-fueled killing spree.
It appears the French are every bit as gun crazy as Americans. Every person in this movie is armed to the teeth, even the mild-mannered building manager, whose private arsenal includes both a hand grenade and a huge WWII-era machine gun. And holy hell do they spray a lot of bullets. If you held your breath from the beginning to the end of any one of the myriad firefights, you would fucking die. We’re talking a constant hail of bullets, with egregious infinite ammo fouls not seen since the mid-80s. And best of all, though the very first zombie they meet proves impervious to harm until a shot to the face puts him down, no one realizes that headshots kill zombies. EVER. Instead, they riddle every zombie with torso shots until it practically falls apart under its own weight. I spend a lot of time thinking about zombies but even folks with a
normal casual relationship with the horror genre know you aim for the head. “Welp, shooting it through the heart had no effect. But perhaps if I shoot it again in the exact same place…” So, either none of the characters in The Horde have ever seen a zombie movie, or it’s set in an alternate reality in which zombie movies don’t exist. Shudder.
And then there’s the rampant karate fighting. French action movies are notorious for having everyone – hero and henchman – employ advanced martial arts techniques. Because all crack dealers are trained in savate and able to deliver spinning heel kicks to the head. The first time a thug fought his way past a pair of zombies was kinda cool. It’s something you don’t see every day: karate dude punching super strong zombies and breaking their knees and whatnot. But then it happens again with someone else, and again, and again. By the end, every major character gets his or her own Mortal Zombat sequence, complete with atrocious frame rate manipulations to make them all look like Jet Li. Tres weird.
Aside from all that, The Horde is an above-average zombie movie. It’s gross and action-packed and even fairly intense at some points. It does some interesting things structurally, including a few surprises about who dies and when. Also, the main hero is fat. Gnar.
Added bonus: the gangster boss is a Nigerian named Ade. I know he’s Nigerian because at one point he awesomely finishes off a zombie by repeatedly smashing its head into a wall, screaming, “I’m fucking Nigerian!” That is officially my new war cry.