Friday, July 15, 2016

Don't Watch This Alone!: THE HORDE


Welcome to the another installment of DON'T WATCH THIS ALONE!, where we review the best, worst, and everything in between in the world of horror.  This week we review the action/horror film...THE HORDE.

If you like action/horror movies as much as I do, then you are going to want to see The Horde.

Ex-Navy SEAL John Crenshaw (Paul Logan) is trying to leave his soldier’s past behind him and have a welcomed, mundane life with his girlfriend, photography teacher Selina (Tiffany Brouwer) and their little dog Taz (cameo appearance by Logan’s own pug dog, Batz).  Crenshaw, looking for the perfect, romantic way to propose to Selina, finds himself invited along on a camping/photography trip with the teacher and her students at Sapphire Lake.  At a local restaurant/bar along the way, John finds himself being given a cryptic warning by a homeless veteran (Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson), who senses Crenshaw is military, about ‘wars not always being outside the country’. After a minor skirmish at restaurant/bar where John protects the students and his girlfriend from some local lowlife types and crossing paths with the local law enforcement, Sheriff Clay (Nestor Serrano), they set off once more.

Once at the campsite, everything seems idyllic enough as Selina and her students begin the exploration of nature and photographing its wonders. John Crenshaw sets up his romantically simplistic means of proposing to the love of his life. It’s only when the sun sets, that the horror begins. From out of the shadows of the woods come a horde of hideously disfigured, mutated humans with an insatiable taste for blood and under the control of the escaped prisoner, Cylus Atkinson (Costas Mandylor) and his meth making fellow convict, the vicious, hulking thug, Stone (Matthew Willig).

With the students either killed or captured, Selina taken by Cylus for his own purposes and local with law enforcement too shady to trust, John Crenshaw must fall back on the one thing he knows he can rely on completely; his own skills and training as a combat honed warrior.


The Horde is written by Paul Logan, who also serves as Executive Producer and fight coordinator for the movie as well as playing the role of John Crenshaw. It incorporates many of the standard elements that make up a horror movie; isolated woods, teenagers in danger and monstrous, disfigured humans out for blood. For me, these kinds of horror movie creatures often represent the baser side of human nature and how some people can become ‘disfigured’ by the removal of the things that temper that nature. I see it as no different in this movie. What makes The Horde stand out, is the fact that the worst monsters in the movie aren’t the mutants, it’s the ones that still retain humanity and consciously decide to be evil.

The other thing that stands out in The Horde, is the inclusion of a main character who is not what the mutants and the evil men are used to coming up against. John Crenshaw doesn’t play the victim, he does what many of us who watch these movies secretly long to see, someone who can stand up to villains, meet them head on and win. He literally does not pull punches, or kicks. The fight scenes in this movie are spectacular and choreographed very well.

That’s not to say The Horde doesn’t have its weak spots in the storytelling.  There could have been more suspense, more scares instead of going for the clich├ęd ‘kids having sex in the woods’. The way too convenient traps that John was able to create and set in record time needed to be shown how that was realistically accomplished. I think the rape scenes were an unnecessary way to show that a young girl needed to be rescued by the hero who, in the rescue process, ignores a helpless, naked woman behind him who is also trapped and been hurt. To me, that diminished Crenshaw a bit that he didn’t even check to see if she was still alive.

As a writer, Paul Logan does excel at creating characters with depth and being able to give even the most throw-away one a decent background. The audience gets several mini expositions to beef up the story; but they are done in such a way that it doesn’t drag down the action in the movie. The cast, which also includes veteran horror actor Bill Moseley, does a great job of bringing the characters to life. Vernon Wells does a particularly nasty turn as 'Earl', a backwoods psycho who loves to butcher people.

At its core, The Horde is an action movie with horror and elements of other movies thrown in to give it a unique look and premise instead of the same rehash of backwoods cannibals.

Check it out on iTunes and other VOD platforms and let me know what you think of The Horde.

Marla’s Score: 7/10





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