Wednesday 20 July, 2011

Rambock: Berlin Undead

by Dan Collacott

Marven Kren – Run Time: 59 min

As a massive fan of the genre it pains me to admit that there are far too many zombie films being churned out at present; but if every zombie film produced was as accomplished as Rambock: Berlin Undead then there could be no complaints from me.

Director Marven Kren’s take on the zombie film has a distinctly old school feel to it. Where many undead flicks revel in excessive gore, mass destruction and emphasis on the scale of the outbreak, Kren sacrifices these elements for a more fast paced, linear and story driven plot.

Lead character Michael (Michael Fuith) has come to Berlin to attempt reconciliation with former girlfriend Gabi (Anna Graczyk). But instead he finds Gabi missing and the block she lives in (and the block opposite) under siege from white eyed rabid frothing mouthed zombies. Aligned with plumbers assistant Harper (Theo Trebs) Michael and numerous others in the blocks try and survive and escape the situation as the whole of Berlin falls to the epidemic.

Now the plot sounds quite simple, but there are plenty of nice touches and subtle twists on the zombie genre to keep you as captive as the survivors in the film. For one the make up and effects is superb and the setting and sound track suitably creepy enough to maintain the tension and sense of threat throughout (the zombies don't squeal or make dumb noises like cornered farm animals).

The story itself focuses solely on Michael and his fairly tragic situation, the other characters are really collateral and the speed of the plotting doesn’t really allow you any time to worry about this.  The whole thing is superbly shot and the balance between character and plotting is spot on. The zombies are of the fast running rage variety, but their own weaknesses and the format of the virus itself has been given a subtle make-over (no spoilers here). The acting is pretty good and feels vey naturalistic and believable also.

The ending itself is both clever and touching and helps set this film apart from the others currently munching over the horizon. Kren should be credited for creating a traditional zombie flick that has all the best ingredients an undead horror film should have, with a few rather cunning modern tweaks.