Let’s get this out of the way first, this is not the French zombie film La Horde. It seems every time I posted a link to the trailer for this one of the first replies would be somebody asking if it was. Despite the different plot and year of production no less. For the record I like La Horde and it’s director, I’ve even reviewed one of his films Goal of the Dead in an earlier issue.
What it is, is an American made action/horror hybrid concerning John Crenshaw, a retired SEAL who goes for a camping trip with his girlfriend and her photography class. A stop for some food turns into a confrontation with some violent rednecks and lets john show off his fighting skills. The reach their campsite and begin to have fun. Pictures get taken, sex happens, and John proposes to his girlfriend, (of course she says yes). Of course things can’t stay like this and they’re attacked by a group of deformed hillbillies led by three not so deformed, though far from sane, escaped convicts. It seems there was a uranium mine in the area and the radiation contaminated the water. Most of the residents moved away, some stayed, between radiation induced mutation and inbreeding, what’s left isn’t that close to human any more. The convicts took over and now use them as cannibal watchdogs protecting their meth operation. It’s up to John who was left for dead in the attack to save his fiance and the surviving students from becoming dinner or the guest of honor at a gang rape. Of course their leader wants John’s fiance for himself…
Paul Logan stars and wrote the script as a showcase for himself, and for the most part it’s pretty good. But it’s written almost by the numbers, going from cliché to cliché and borrowing large chunks of other movies. The prologue where a young couple meet a nasty end, then the fight at the bar that could have been from any Chuck Norris film, the weird old man with he cryptic warning, (here played by 80s B action star Don “The Dragon” Wilson) could have wandered in from so many slasher films. The montage of kills from Rambo and even the all to obvious twist at the end and it’s resolution. It’s all very familiar but it’s done very well and once the killing starts you’ll forget about how many times you’ve seen it until after it’s over. And really that’s what matters.
As action heroes go Logan isn’t bad, he’s solidly built though needing a bit more size and definition if he wants to play in the big leagues. A former stuntman, he’s very convincing in the actions scenes but not much of an actor and is frequently upstaged by the villains though considering they’re played by Costas Mandylor, Bill Moseley and The Toecutter himself Vernon Wells that’s not a big surprise.
The gore isn’t on a par with most genre offerings, but since this is as much an action film as horror film that’s probably to be expected. There are a few scenes that get fairly nasty though including a torture scene and later it’s aftermath. The effects for those are convincing, there just needed to be more of them to keep the horror fans happy.
A little something I noticed in the credits of the film itself though not mentioned on IMDB, the film’s title theme was composed by Queensryche drummer Scott Rockenfield who I found out has a nice side gig doing music for film and video games. As a long time fan of the band I consider that a nice bonus.
The Horde isn’t as awesome as it’s trailer would have you think, but it is a lot of fun. It’s DTV or should we now be saying DTVOD horror done right.