Let me begin by saying, there hasn’t really been enough happening in the action/horror sub-genre of late; those jaw-dropping, delicious, popcorn movies to enjoy with your friends, it’s what the genre is made for after all. So, when you first hear about Jared Cohn’s The Horde, you may think this is what we’ve been waiting for; a survival vengeance film— what could be more satisfying than that? Starring an array of horror icons including Paul Logan, Bill Moseley, Costas Mandylor and Vernon Wells, the recipe makes for a high-octane cocktail of mutant mayhem and a hell lot of fun, and on paper has a lot of potential.
Alas, The Horde fell rather short of being exciting or satisfying, with little direction over whether it wanted to be genuine or absurd. It’s actually frustrating to watch a film that has such a brilliant concept, a great cast, and a big enough budget to pull it off, which failed to grasp the right atmosphere and style.
So the story goes: John Crenshaw (Paul Logan) is an Ex-Navy Seal living the suburban life with his girlfriend. He agrees to accompany his girlfriend and her students on a photography camping trip deep into the woods. After some rather precarious encounters on the way, they finally make it to the rather idyllic forest but all is not as it seems. Lurking in the bushes is a monstrous horde of mutated humans hungry for flesh. Besieged by these hideous creatures the groups only hope is Crenshaw and his bad-ass skills to tear down the horde.
As expected from a writer and actor (Logan), who is stunt trained and knows martial arts, there are some incredibly well-choreographed action scenes. These scenes are super fun to watch despite some continuity issues; seriously Logan where do you keep finding that bow? Great action sequences and stunts can only go so far, however, without the right music timed to the action, they fail to truly excite and put you in awe, which unfortunately is something that happens throughout the entire film. Music is an incredibly important component to films, especially so for horror movies when you consider the integral role it can play in creating the right atmosphere. Sadly The Horde has no soundtrack you’re going to want to invest in. There are some beautifully shot night scenes and though there are some shoddy blood effects, overall the special effects looked really good. There are some shocking scenes of carnage for the truly hardcore gore fans.
For this genre of movie making, it’s to be expected that the dialogue may not be completely smooth and there may not be much expectation concerning character development, but the extremely stereotyped characters go beyond those seen in the worst kind of slasher films. The performances felt too dramatized and theatrical, with shady dialogue trying to be too naturalistic. Though there are some genuinely funny moments, most of them probably aren’t suppose to be, as the script tries to be serious during a ludicrous moment of plot development. Dramatic scenes flop due to slow reactions and reluctance to edit for effect at the right moment. If you’re expecting a fun slasher vengeance movie, lower it to a more mediocre exploitation movie and you might find something to enjoy in The Horde.