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“Rammbock - Berlin Undead"
Reviewer:
Daniel Ruwe
Studio: Collective
Genre:
Horror
Release Date:
June 28, 2011
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

When you start watching a zombie movie you pretty much know what you’re going to get. A fast acting virus that somehow spreads through the whole world despite an incubation period of about fifteen seconds, ninety-nine percent of the world turned into mindless zombies, small group of plucky survivors, lots of gore. The only question is whether the zombies are the fast kind or the slow kind. ***

In Rammbock: Berlin Undead they’re the fast kind. And the three words in the title tell you most of what you need to know about the movie. “Rammbock” is German for “battering ram,” which tells you the movie is in German (with an English dubbing option on the DVD), “Berlin” gives you a clue as to the setting, and “Undead” means it’s a zombie movie. ***

There aren’t all that many places zombies movies go. The Likeable Protagonist here is Michael, stuck at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment with a handyman while zombies run around outside foaming at the mouth and wanting blood. Michael must a) cooperate with his fellow Plucky Survivors, b) kill zombies, and c) find the girl. ***

That’s the plot of almost all zombies movies; like Westerns, zombies flicks aren’t judged as much by originality of plot as by how well the existing template for such movies is executed. In Rammbock: Berlin Undead the standard zombie premise is executed very well indeed. The characters are likable, the setting is suitably claustrophobic, and the tension builds nicely. The zombies look properly scary, and the action scenes are shot with a very kinetic feel. ***

The movie functions well as a zombie movie, and it stays well away from reaching any further, which is a pity, because Marvin Kren is a good director who didn’t have to limit himself to a standard zombie plot. The characters are mostly likable cardboard, and the ending (as is the case in so many action movies) doesn’t make much sense. The movie is only an hour long (shorter than some TV episode arcs), which means there is very little time for anything other than fighting zombies. ***

It’s probable Kren shot this film (it’s his first film approaching feature length) as an introduction to the film world; a sort of demo showing what he is capable of. Judging from what we see in this movie, he is capable of a lot. Rammbock: Berlin Undead is as well made a zombie movie as you are likely to find. ---

Image and Sound:

The movie was shot on film, which gives it a darker feel, though it is never hard to see what is going on. The color is decent, but not spectacular. The sound is mostly good, with a dubbed English track if you don’t want to watch in the original German. The sound effects are sometimes louder than the dialogue, which can make the action hard to follow sometimes, but it mostly sounds good.

Special Features:

There are only two special features. One is a fifteen minute “Making Of,” which gives some background into the origin of the film, filming conditions, and the actors’ comments. The other is a mock zombie survival guide that clocks in around seven minutes.

Final Words:

This is a well-made, enjoyable zombie movie. While it might have been better had it been a little longer, it’s a good way to kill an hour, and it is much, much better than a lot of recent zombie movies.

 

 
 
 
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