July 18, 2011

Filthy Review - Rammbock Berlin Undead

Rammbock Berlin Undead (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

This movie first came to my attention under the incredibly generic title of Siege of the Dead. A truly horrible name for a movie that just reeks of laziness, and is unfortunately the name it was lumbered with on its UK release. Granted, it does fit the movie to a degree but do we really need another “of the Dead”? The fact that it has Berlin Undead tagged onto the end is almost as annoying, but not quite. Just because a movie has zombies, or infected, in it does not mean you have to put “Dead” or “Undead” in its name. Maybe it’s just me having a toddler’s temper tantrum moment?

All that aside though it might be an idea(d) to focus on the movie instead. Rammbock is the first release by Bloody Disgusting Selects in partnership with The Collective (not the JABB Pictures movie) and AMC Theaters, which meant it got a short run at their theaters, and a pretty damned good one it is too. Whether you would call it a zombie movie or not is open to debate and how you define a zombie, but for the sake of arguments, and this review, it is a zombie flick.

The story follows Michael, a geeky looking fella, who has traveled from Austria to Berlin to find his estranged girlfriend Gabi. Upon arriving at her apartment he does not find her, instead he finds a plumber, who is having issues with a radiator, and his apprentice Harper. Before you can say “Oh my god, he’s a zombie!” the plumber attacks. This leaves Michael and Harper to defend themselves as best they can, and barricade themselves in the apartment as other zombies soon appear on the scene.

Through the use of radio and TV we get filled in on what is happening. This is where the zombie debate comes in as it appears that it is some kind of virus that doesn’t cause the dead to come back to life, instead they just run around infecting people ala 28 Days Later. In fact I would personally say that this definitely shared some similarities with 28 Days Later, in style and tone, which is not a bad thing. Throw in a dose of David Moody’s Hater novels and a touch of the Spanish flick [REC] and you might get an idea of roughly what to expect.

One of the good things about Rammbock though is that writer Benjamin Hessler and director Marvin Kren have added enough fresh elements to proceedings to keep it exciting and surprisingly tense through its short running time. The case states that the movie is 63 minutes but the credits actually start to roll at about 58 minutes, so it is a short movie, but it is an enjoyable one and there is plenty of scope for the filmmakers to expand on the story should they choose to.

The look of the movie is pretty sweet too, with the visuals having a washed out look to them. The action for the most part is confined to the apartment complex, with only the occasional panoramic shot of a ravaged Berlin. This works for the story though as at its heart it is a story about a man looking for his girl, or ex-girl as it may be, and the zombie/infected element is just an incidental fact that hinders his progress.

This isn’t a particularly gory movie, with just one or two really bloody scenes, but there are one or two “holy shit!” moments, that of course I am not going to spoil here. The effects on the whole are all executed well, and the production in general looks good.

The tagline line of the case is “Germany is dead”, but on the evidence of this movie I would say the zombie sub-genre is definitely not. Rammbock Berlin Undead is a good solid movie that moves along at a good clip, throws in a few cool new ideas and left me wanting more. I’d say that is definitely a good thing.

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