The Horde is written and produced by Paul Logan, who also stars, and is directed by Jared Cohn. I knew I was in for a treat when I looked up Mr. Cohn’s filmography and noticed that he has directed several movies for The Asylum. But nothing could prepare me for the sheer joy I felt when I realized that Paul Logan is indeed C-movie, martial artist, Paul Stone. His film, The Terminators, is one of the all time best, bad movies I have ever seen. When I discovered that the cast was rounded out by such genre favorites as Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior, Commando), Costas Mandylor (the Saw series, Fist of the North Star), and Bill Friggin’ Moseley (about 900 movies), well, I hunkered down, popped a cold one, and went for an 88-minute ride. Nothing I say can possibly prepare you for the sheer, cheesy awesomeness of this film — kung fu, side boob, cannibalism, Vernon Wells’ inexplicable Australian accent, tree-mutant inbred rape, and the list goes on and on.
The basic plot of The Horde goes as follows. A local college professor, played by Tiffany Brouwer, takes her rag-tag group of photography students on a weekend nature-hike so they can capture some outdoor photos for extra credit. The problem is, this also happens to be the very same weekend that her ex-Navy SEAL boyfriend, John Crenshaw (Paul Logan), planned to propose to her at a romantic dinner for two. Since he doesn’t want his secret proposal discovered, he agrees to accompany his girlfriend and her students on their camping trip with the hopes of finding the perfect spot to pop the question in their soon to be scenic surroundings. It turns out that the very woods they are going to are inhabited by a “horde” (see what I did there?) of cannibalistic, inbred hillbillies led by escaped murderer, Cylus Atkinson (Costas Mandylor), and they have very different intentions for our hero and the accompanying gaggle of gawkers. Kick-assery ensues!
I don’t know that I can put into context exactly how much kick-assery is contained in this one film, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try. And I’ll keep it spoiler free, because I don’t want to ruin any of the shenanigans for anyone.
The Horde contains one of the single most epic shots ever put to celluloid, and it gives it to you at least five times. The women are great to look at, especially Ms. Brouwer, who looks like our stone-faced hero’s’ daughter, let alone his girlfriend. Speaking of our hero (simply referred to as “Muscle Chest” in my notes), he kung fu’s the shit out of people in this movie. He also likes to go bare-chested, hence the nickname, well earned I might add. Slow-motion shots shrouded in mist and laced with sweet electric guitar licks are just some of what make this movie so incredible. Truly, this movie owns and owns big time. I do feel that I need to talk about this cast. While no one is particularly great, Vernon Wells, as Earl, stood out in his all too brief screen time. I referenced his accent earlier because he and this entire clan of crazies are all supposedly related and banging each other. Yet, Earl is the only one with an Australian accent. I’m assuming this is the director’s choice, because you can’t have Vernon Wells and not have him speak in his native accent. It just wouldn’t have the same punch.
The students, however, all feel like the same formulaic characters from any cabin-in-the-woods or slasher film. We have the class clown, Derrick (John Omohundro); the horny couple, Sheila (Elisabeth Ferrara) and Chris (Jack David Frank); the rich kid, Riley (Thomas Ochoa) whom I immediately wanted dead the second he uttered his first, dickish bit of dialogue; and finally, the intelligent virgin girl, Hailey (Sydney Sweeney), who as you might have guessed, is the victim in the tree-mutant rape scene. Well, of course she is.
As I said, no one turns in a particularly bad performance, but none are truly memorable either. I guess that’s to be expected from such cookie-cutter characters. Costas Mandylor does a serviceable job, but that’s pretty much what he always does. I have never used the words “exemplary” and “Costas Mandylor” in the same sentence, …. and I talk about Costas Mandylor a LOT!
Bill Moseley. Man. This is clearly ANOTHER paycheck performance from him and he’s on screen for a total of maybe five minutes. I think we all need to realize that we’re never going to get another Chop Top or Otis Driftwood out of him. His last semi-decent performance was 2009’s Dead Air, and that movie went nowhere. I mean, Bill Moseley is the Nicolas Cage of B horror movies. If there are some words on a page and some dollars involved, he’ll do it. I don’t mean to put the man down — he seems like a wonderful person — but if he doesn’t start choosing better roles, people are going to start choosing to not watch him. Now on to the red stuff!
For you sick individuals who are only in the horror game for the gore and perversity, the third act of this movie has it in spades. Tongues are cut out, limbs are sawed off, people are engulfed in flames, heads are boiled, eyeballs are plucked out, necks are snapped this way and that, etc., etc. The practical effects are all handled fairly well by the MORB-X FX effects studio of Eric and Sheri Fox, especially given the sheer number of different characters and limbs being removed. However, 90% of the blood, especially when sprayed, is PlayStation-quality, CGI blood, which drives me absolutely bat-shit. Explosions? God help me. They are so obviously computer generated, it’s painful to watch.
The twist at the end is so tired that you can guess it 25 minutes into the film when a certain character utters a particular line of dialogue. HOWEVER, the last ten seconds contain the best ending to a movie I have ever seen and feature 1980’s, C-movie, martial artist, Don “the Dragon” Wilson. It is the cheesiest, most forced, patriotic message ever. Seriously! I want to own this movie just for those last few frames. In all of this, please understand that this is in no way a great or even good film. This is a Plan 9, s0-bad-it’s-good, type of movie. I went into this expecting to hate it, but found myself joyfully entertained by the sheer cornball things that I witnessed.
In closing, if nothing else, The Horde will provide you with unintentional laughter, decent gore, some familiar faces, and a protagonist who truly is not a man with whom to screw. So have a few friends over, have some adult treats, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
The Horde (3.3 / 5)
“The Hunt is On” with The Horde, on Demand in the US and Canada May 6 from Gravitas Ventures