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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 17: Rammbock: Berlin Undead

Rammbock: Berlin Undead
 Bad strudel and pretzels did this

Zombies are my favorite genre of horror movies. My first real introduction to zombies when my dad bought a VHS copy of Dawn of the Dead. I loved everything about it; the slow zombies, shooting them in the head, and social commentary. Ever since then, I have held every zombie movie I've seen to that golden standard. When newer zombie movies deviate from the form, I have to try extra hard to enjoy it.

Rammbock is a German zombie movie set in a small apartment complex in Berlin. We follow the story of Michael as he returns to his ex-girlfriend Gabi's apartment to try and win her back. It doesn't take long for Michael to be attacked by a crazed handyman. Harper, the teenage apprentice, helps Michael fight back the handyman and the two form an unlikely partnership to stay alive. Michael is determined to find Gabi, but first he must survive a horde of zombies and stave off starvation.

Close the door! This is private time!

The zombies in Rammbock are of the fast 28 Days Later-style zombies. Part of me hates the fast zombie because the real fear comes from being surrounded and helpless. The other part likes it because it ups the action and immediate fear. We are never given a decent reason as to why the zombies are up and about, but they are not the undead. Once again, the traditionalist in me hates that. It doesn't have to be definitive, but give me a few theories and let my mind make the connections. Also, the zombies are susceptible to bright flashes of light. That's certainly a new one for me, but I can accept it.

If you're looking for some good flesh-eating and over-the-top gut ripping, Rammbock isn't for you. There are some moments of violence and fast action, but the movie is light on blood and gore. No fun headshots or arm ripping. More focus is given to the characters dealing with their emotions and plans to survive. That's fine because that's what makes a zombie movie great, but when you don't have the horrific acts of violence, it feels more like a soap opera. With a running time of about an hour, I think the extra 25-30 minutes really could have made the difference between an OK movie and a good one. Everything is told in that time, but it seems odd to just have hour-long movie that wasn't meant for television.

Do you want Cheesy Bread or Wings?

Rammbock is certainly not a bad movie. That being said, everything about the movie felt just “OK”. The characters, the acting, the action; it was all “OK”. I guess it just left me wanting. It's good to see the genre stretching out across the globe, such as in Norway with Dead Snow. I hope to see more international films focusing on zombies and how other cultures choose to portray them. Rammbock would be a good gateway horror film for those not initiated.


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