Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2010)

This year, someone who wasn't Lionsgate or the like have decided to release a slew of movies in limited release. No, not several in a theater, but one at a time. That someone is horror website Bloody Disgusting, who have picked several movies from around the world for theatrical release in their "Bloody Disgusting Selects" series, which I think is a great idea. Why? Because it's good to see genre fair made outside of the Hollywood system get a theatrical release with the help of someone whose not a part of the system cog. So, let's take a look at the short but intriguing German film "Rammbock: Berlin Undead", which reminded me of last year's underrated French zombie film "Mutants."

Michael (Michael Fuith) is going through a break-up with his girl Gabbi (Anka Graczyk), and decided to go to Berlin to make things right. When he goes to her apartment though, he finds out that something worse than getting dumped has happened-namely an epidemic that has reduced people to fleet footed, foaming at the mouth, flesh hungry zombies. Now, Michael, Harper (Theo Trebs) and a slew of others must fend for themselves, while Michael worries about what happened to Gabbi, and whether or not she's alive.

Though not exactly a long movie (it's only 64 minutes long), "Rammbock" manages to get more characterization and scares than a lot of more recent zombie movies. The characterization in particular is a strength, because like George Romero's best zombie films or something like "28 Days Later", the story is less about the dead then it is about people caught in a horrific situation. There's also enough original touches (bright lights-especially those from cameras-are a great way to fend off the dead), humor (Michael getting upset about Gabbi's silverware getting bent) and sympathetic characters (even though you pretty much figure out Gabbi's fate early on, you still can't help but feel for Michael) to help it stand out. Plus, after seeing constant zombie movies from Germany that are a whole lot of gore and nothing else, it's nice to see something like this.

Those the movie have any problems? Well, a lot of the performances feel a bit subdued, which is odd considering this takes place during a zombie apocalypse. You'd expect to see more people freaking out in such a situation, though I do find it refreshing to see a movie of this sort that doesn't focus on the usual "mankind and his darkest instincts" cliche.

As a whole, I recommend "Rammbock" to fans of more thoughtful zombie movies that look more at loss and smart touches instead of the usual "gore and fanboy-esque appreciation" approach. See it sometime.

Rating: 7.5/10

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