June 12, 2011

Movie Review: Rammbock - Berlin Undead

This film is the first release from the newly formed distribution arm of BloodyDisgusting.com in their collaboration with The Collective and their agreement with the AMC theater chain. If this is a good indicator of the quality of film they will be releasing, then I am on board! I only wish they were able to get a wider release as there are no nearby participating AMCs. I actually had to take a train into Manhattan to see it! Believe me when I say it was worth it. While it has a run time of only about an hour, it does a lot that movies twice its length don't get.

Rammbock is a German zombie movie from the team of Martin Kren (director) and Benjamin Hessler (writer) and it does borrow a lot from other films, but it puts the pieces together in a way that feels fresh and original, not to mention introduces an interesting twist on classic lore. Inspirations can be seen from the likes of Night of the Living Dead, of course, as well as more recent outings like 28 Days Later and [REC], and even Pitch Black. Also, truth be told, I am not sure this is a zombie movie, it feels more along the lines of 28 Days Later as a movie about infected people. As a matter of fact, I believe there may be enough pieces here to view this as a sideways story related to the Danny Boyle film, possibly even in the same universe. I don't know, but it is interesting to consider.

The movie follows Michi as he goes to Berlin to visit his ex-girlfriend in the hopes of getting back together with her. As he gets to her apartment he does not find her, instead a couple of workers making some repairs on the apartment are there. One of them is acting strange, almost rabid. A struggle ensues and the remaining worker, a young fellow, and Michi find themselves locked in the apartment. They hear noises outside and witness attacks by people who appear crazy, biting people.

It turns out, learned through radio and television broadcasts, that virus is spreading trough Berlin turning people into bloodthirsty zombie-like beings. Michi and a few other tenants in the apartment quad to find a way to survive as hordes of the infected mill about downstairs.

Now, the movie is short and I do not want to give you everything. Let me tell you that the characters are actually interesting and fully developed. You will want to spend time with them, Michi in particular. It is not all that gory, but the make up effects are pretty good. There is a lot of tension built up in a short period of time. Much credit to the creative team and cast doing what they were able to do in a short period of time.

They successfully set up the world, the problem, the legitimate threat of the infected, the various survivor personalities/stories, and various problems surrounding their attempts to survive/move about the complex. It ends on a bittersweet note that makes me want to see more. I would love to see them either expand this into a true full-length feature or even give us a sequel to continue the story.

No matter how you want to cut it, Rammbock is a very good zombie/infected movie. Very good acting performances, solid directing, and a good script make this a good time. I also like the new elements they introduce to make this feel that much fresher. Hopefully this won't be the last we see of those elements (see the movie to find out what I'm talking about).


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