I know what you’re saying. Another zombie movie? Saying that the market is over-saturated with zombie films right now would be an understatement. Though I’ve personally had a life-long obsession with the sub-genre, today the world has gone zombie crazy. Unfortunately, most of these films barely meet even watchable standards. Most that are solid entries slip through the cracks, and never reach their audience. Half-assed cash-ins are what wind up getting most of the attention. Hell, even the godfather of the genre has a bad track record with his last couple of films. It seems that if you want to see a good zombie film, you have to go out of your way to do so. “Rammbock” is one of those films that you should see by any means necessary.
“Rammbock” is a German film that follows Michael as he travels to Berlin in order to give his ex-girlfriend, Gabbi, the keys to her apartment back. Once Michael arrives, there is a strange man wrestling with Gabbi’s radiator heater. As the man becomes more and more aggressive, it soon becomes evident that something is off. Soon, a young man named Harper shows up, who was apparently on a job with the man whom we can now see is bound to the heater. A wave of infection has ravaged the population of what seems to be a country-wide radius, turning them into savage creatures with a ferocious appetite for human flesh.
If you’re anything like me, you go into a zombie movie thinking you know the score. You’ve seen it all, and it’s not possible for them to show you anything you haven’t already seen. One of the beautiful things about “Rammbock”, is that it isn’t your standard zombie film. Not all of the same conventions and logic apply. Yes, you can still be infected by being bitten by one of the ghouls, but they’ve added another layer on top of that. While you’re technically still infected if you swap bodily fluids with one of these bad boys, you’re still a member of the living unless you let your emotions get out of control. Extreme feelings from either side of the emotional spectrum will expedite your new career as one of the walking dead, also incorporating ideas such as ingesting sedatives in order to keep your cool. Another unique thing about this film is the way in which you dispense of the walking corpses. Sure, a good blast to the head will still do the trick, but one character learns that the dead are affected by another unique way. The method discovered may not kill the zombies, but it hurts them bad enough to possibly clear a path.
Zombie films today are mostly spent following a scantily clad bombshell as she blasts her way through the undead with what seems to be an unlimited amount of ammo for some of the most powerful weapons on the planet. In “Rammbock” the survivors react the way you would assume they should, by running their asses off. This is hard to do from within a cramped apartment complex, so instead of assaulting the audience with 90 minutes of popcorn action that would make even Michael Bay blush, what we are treated to is a merciless game of cat and mouse. Each move the survivors make seems to push them back further and further, until finally it’s fight or flight. The amazing set design, coupled with some spectacular cinematography and lighting lend to a creepy and unnerving experience. Just when you think you get a break from the assault, another wall caves and the survivors are back in peril.
There are a plethora of zombie films to choose from this year. Some are great, most are mediocre at best. If you’re sick to death of the genre, and can only handle one more zombie film, I highly recommend that it be this one. The film clocks in at a single hour, so there’s never time for it to let up. The pacing is impeccable, and allows for character development, even though it feels like you’re under a constant barrage of bloodthirsty demons. If you’re becoming increasingly annoyed with the lackluster options to choose from in this massively overused sub-genre, this may be the film that makes you remember why you fell in love with zombies to begin with. The quote on the cover says that Romero would be proud, and I agree with that statement. “Rammbock” is a must see for not only fans of zombies, but fans of creepy atmospheric horror as well. I’m not sure if this is the first attempt at a zombie film from Germany, but it certainly is an amazing one. I hope to see more films like this coming from the region. American filmmakers could learn a thing or two as well. If you’re going to continue to beat that dead horse that is the zombie film, take note, because THIS is how you fucking do it.