Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Horde





As everybody knows I am a bit of a zombie fan. Its the one sub genre of horror that keeps producing films and books that surprise me. Whilst vampires are now boring and no longer scary these rotting, maggot infested undead fuckers still manage to send a chill down my spine.

Its due to this love of all things decayed that I picked up The Horde, a zombie film from France and I have to say right here and right now that within the first twenty minutes I knew this film was not only going to go to the top of my favourite horror films but to the top my list of all time best films watched in the last ten years...

...Its official... I love The Horde.

The story follows a small group of police officers out to avenge a fallen comrade and things seem to be going well until the first shot is fired. At this point things start to turn sour but are about to get worse when the first set of undead dentures rend at living flesh.

Criminals and coppers have to team up and from here on out loyalties are never quite what they seem to first appear and there is a severe lack of trust between the characters that could possibly be there download.

The most outstanding feature of this film is the visual style, everything from the cinematography through to the sickly colour scheme. The whole thing has an almost dreamlike quality (albeit a nightmare) and the brief flashes of the city beyond are cleverly done, giving only hints to the devastation that awaits them if they escape.

This visual brilliance reaches its peak with our lead hero facing off against a virtual sea of the undead. This scene is so wonderfully done that it can only be described as a blood drenched ballet of bullets, blades and rotting flesh.

The pace, the story, the dialogue, the setting, the visual style and overall look of the film. There is nothing I can complain about and I highly recommend you get this film.

PS: Please try to watch with subtitles and experience the film in its native tongue rather than dubbed.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010



Directed By: Noel Clark and Mark Davies

Starring: Emma Roberts, Tamsin Egerton, Ophelia Loviond, Shanika Warren-Markland

Running Time: 1 hour 52 mins

I had heard absolutely nothing about this film until it I saw it on the shelf of the new releases for DVD's. At the time I didn't buy it despite the fact that I have always liked Noel Clark as an actor. It just didn't, upon reading the box, look like my kind of film.

Later that day I happened to see a retweet from someone on Twitter who clearly followed Noel. I immediately checked out Noel's page and saw how hard he was pimping 4321. One tweet in-particular got my attention. I can't remember the exact wording but it was a thank you and an acknowledgement to how hard he knew it was to have spare cash laying around for films, that he knew what it was like as eleven years ago he had been broke.

Call me a soft bastard but the pure realness of that tweet made me then want to see the film. I already I knew I liked him as an actor but I wanted to see what he was like as a writer and a director.

So I jumped back on my motorbike, returned to the shop and picked up a copy of 4321... The question is “Was it worth the return journey?”


I will be honest and tell you that the 'hell yes' didn't come straight away. As the four main characters meet up in the coffee shop I felt myself cringing at the youngness of it all and feared I'd hit that point in my life where I was just too “OLD” to enjoy.

Regardless of my age concerns I continued to watch as I was introduced to Shannon, Cassandra, Kerrys and Jo. Who they are and what they are like was set up incredibly quickly but without being clunky.

I was even treated to a cool little scene with Kerrys showing she knew how to look after herself by beating up a wannbe purse snatcher. This action snippet allowed for a major plot device that the rest of the film relied upon.

With the intros done the girls leave the coffee shop just as the police are chasing a group of young criminal types. Needless to say we have the second major plot device in place and the film was ready to move on.

At this point the girls all say their good byes and head off in their own directions for the next few days and – its at this point – that I really started to sit up and take notice as Clark and Davies suddenly decided to go all Tarantino with a UK twist.

I want to now go on about why 4321 is so bloody watchable but I don't want to give any more of the story away as that will just spoil things, but I shall endeavour to do my best.

The rest of the film is done in four sections, each one following the same three days from the point of view of each girl. This is done in a very clever fashion as – by following Shannon first – I was thrown into a world of confusion as her story unfolds.

Needless to say the two plot devices quickly come into play and pieces begin to drop into place. By the time I reached the end of Shannon's three days things were much clearer and I was eager to see it from a different perspective.

This didn't really happen as Cassandra was up next and her story is a strange one. It isn't really needed in any way to strengthen the film yet, at the same time, the film is so much better... fuller for its inclusion.

Plus, as a movie geek, it was a total treat to see the Kevin Smith cameo and I shall admit that I actually cheered when he appeared on screen. His advice on not letting people fuck you in the ass is heartfelt and should be heeded.

Next up is Kerrys story and this one really interested me as the family story hidden within it was quite touching and very honest. I also loved the editing in this section... Its amazing how just with editing a house that once featured on Grand Designs can be made to be a penthouse apartment on the top floor of Saint Pancreas... Well done Noel... using the bed for a panic room was blinding and I smiled all the way through this section.

By the end of Kerrys' section she has hooked up with Jo, just in time for everything to rewind and we get to see the final section of the film play out through this young American's eyes. This section is where, for me, the Tarantino inspiration is strongest and the scenes inside the shop are brilliant, highlighted by Noel as the nasty character Tee.

And that is all I can really say without telling you too much so I think its time I shut up and fucked off :-)

4321 is a clever, fast paced thriller with a shit hot young cast and a man behind the camera who I shall be keeping a serious eye on and one day, if I'm really lucky, I might just get to work with him... Hey, we can all dream.