Written by: Daniel Hadley
Director: Jared Cohn
Cast: Paul Logan, Bill Moseley, Costas Mandylor
The Horde – not to be confused with the French zombie movie La Horde – answers the age-old question that has without a doubt been on literally everyone’s mind, everyone’s! What would happen if you pitted Rambo against a group of psycho, mutant, cannibalistic hillbillies? Well, questions of such importance are rarely answered, so we should thank our lucky stars that The Horde came along to give us the answer to one of the questions mankind has no doubt been asking since the Stone Age.
Given the premise mentioned above the plot could be largely irrelevant, but we get one none the less. John Crenshaw, ex-Navy SEAL and all around bad ass is headed out with his wife and her students on a nature photography trip, but when a group of savage, cannibal hillbillies attack and abduct his wife and her students, well… John isn’t down for taking any of their shit, and proceeds to steam roll through scores of these monsters on his way to the big boss battle, and boom! We have our movie.
As epic as that sounds there are a few drawbacks. The acting can be a little wonky at times and the effects aren’t exactly mind blowing, but you know what, if you told me this was an eighties movie I’d believe it, and looking at it with that in mind a lot of its faults can be overlooked. When viewed as a lost relic of the eighties this totally works and it’s a fun time. It’s the kind of movie I would have rented the shit out of on VHS. And the Rambo comparison holds true throughout; our ex-Navy SEAL badass even starts wielding a bow and arrow towards the end of the movie, and while I could have gone without seeing a girl get raped by a tree mutant, I admit the gratuitous nature of the gore added to its fun factor.
Some of the gore though did delve more into the torture porn realm. Side note, well more of a rant: I hate the term “torture porn” sorry but it aint porn, it’s just gore if you’re getting “happy” thoughts over this stuff then see someone about because it aint normal. Horror fans don’t watch horror for that reason, we’re not perverse, so why the hell do we use the term porn? Its stupid, seriously it degrades horror fandom, we don’t watch horror movies lasciviously and I know the term was coined after the first Hostel movie to describe movies with no plot that dwell on gory torture scenes, but Hostel had a plot. I have even heard the Saw movies described as torture porn. I mean seriously? Okay rant over. In my opinion there is nothing really entertaining about seeing someone strapped down and tortured slowly. The very nature of such scenes means there can be literally zero tension as we the audience are already privy to the outcome, though these scenes were brief and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment.
Paul Logan does his job as the gruff beefcake of a hero. With his very particular set of skills (is this Taken part 4?) he lays waste to all who challenge him. That’s not a spoiler by the way, it’s made pretty clear early on that this is not a man you fuck with. His performance as a whole is decent. He isn’t the strongest of actors but for a movie such as this that isn’t really a necessity (Mr. Schwarzenegger’s movies stand as good examples of this – although Maggie allowed Arnold to actually act, and he was damn impressive in doing so). The same goes for most of the performances, Bill Moseley does a good job in a small role, though Costas Mandylor seems to be phoning it in at points, but overall no one does a bad job.
Anyone expecting a deep story or a strong character driven plot should look elsewhere. The Horde takes a very basic premise and runs with it, and while there were a few poor edits here and there that stuck out, this movie succeeds in delivering a fast and fun horror experience. Sure the dialogue can be cheesy and we even get a scene where the big bad guy monologues his grand plan for no particular reason. But when a movie like this doesn’t take itself seriously and goes all out most of the cheesiness can be overlooked or better yet, embraced. Sometimes you need to just sink down into the cheese and let it wash over you.
The main issue with The Horde, as I’ve hinted above, are its technical aspects. Nothing is terrible but it’s all very average. Now I don’t need artsy camera angles and sweeping cinematography in a movie where a muscle-bound action hero blasts, stabs and beats his way through a small army of cannibals, but everything is very conventionally shot and put together. It’s very TV movie-esque, but the premise gave the movie enough oomph to push those limitation into the background.
I’d love to see a premise like this taken further. As fun as it is to see the standard stalk and slash movies, it would be really interesting to see what would happen if the victims weren’t exactly helpless. You’re Next is a good example of this, but again, like this movie it’s only the main character with the skills to put up a fight. Imagine a whole team of bad asses going up against a family of Cannibal mutants. Personally I think that could be awesome and if such a movie already exists then shame on me for not knowing of its existence. Editor’s note: The Outpost films are similar, though we’re dealing with zombies versus a gang of bad ass military soldiers.
Okay so through all of my praise I hope I have made it clear enough that this is far from a perfect movie, but I didn’t really care. It’s a good time and if I have fun with a movie then I’ll happily recommend it.