No, this isn’t the 2009 French zombie flick, The Horde, this is the 2016 flick that borrows plot elements from a few different sources. The Horde is written by Paul Logan, who also stars as John Crenshaw, an ex-SEAL who accompanies his girlfriend, Selina (Tiffany Brouwer) to the woods for a class project. Selina is a photography professor and she is taking her students to the woods so they can get creative with their pictures. What you think happens is exactly what happens, but due to the writing, The Horde winds up being a gory, and at times dark little film.
Considering this is a college photography class, there aren’t too many students in it. And yes, the five students who are in the class are plucked right out of the kids-die-in-the-woods handbook. There’s Derrick (John Omohundro), the nice guy; Hailey (Sydney Sweeney), the nice girl; Riley (Thomas Ochoa), the rich snobby kid who you instantly hate; Sheila (Elisabeth Ferrara), the slut; and Chris (Jack David Frank). the horny boyfriend of Sheila. Standard characters who do typically dumb things to make their situation worse. Not long after arriving int he woods, Sheila and Chris go off to screw, and they are attacked by some cannibalistic backwoods mutants. But just when you think everything is going to play out like a thousand similar films before it, The Horde proves it is out to break the mold.
The first element that writer Logan adds in is his character, John Crenshaw. When the mutants attack, Crenshaw immediately goes into Rambo mode and even though he doesn’t save everyone, he does his best to mess up some bad guys and save his girlfriend. The next element that separates this film from all the others is the mean streak that runs throughout it. Seriously, there is some messed up shit that happens to these photography students. For example, one the the females is taken by the mutants and is taken to the “breeding room.” There, she is bent over a wooden table, we watch as she has nails pounded through her hands so she can;t move, she is stripped, and is then gang raped. Repeatedly. Really nasty stuff.
But the real fun here is the way director Jared Cohn juxtaposes these scenes of intensity with the more Die Hard-esque scenes involving Logan. It feels as though the Wrong Turn and Die Hard franchises got together and made a baby. The Horde feels fresh and original even though the elements it borrows from are pretty common.
The last element that makes The Horde so much fun is the mutant-cannibals themselves. They are indeed backwoods cannibals who are leftovers from an old mining town that was contaminated with uranium, but they are also more than this. It seems a few years back, a prisoner transport bus wrecked in the woods and three brutal men escaped. Two are hardened killers and the third cooks meth. Since the police didn’t feel the need to conduct a manhunt, the three prisoners decided to set up shop with the mutants and use them as muscle while they cook up some meth and make some money. Sure, there are more holes in the plot that in the Titanic, but if you just go along with it, there’s a lot of fun to be had. There’s brutal, gory violence and great action movie-like heroics.
The acting is overall good with a few glaring bad performances that stick out like sore thumbs, but there are also a lot of solid performances. If you’re in the mood to switch off your brain and have some fun, you’ll like The Horde. Just remember to switch off your brain!!
Director: Jared Cohn
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 7 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer