Last week I mentioned the exciting news for film fans that AMC Theatres were teaming up with Bloody Disgusting Selects and the Collective to host the best Horror films from around the globe. Thanks to the kindness of PMG I was able to secure a screener of the first film to hit the silver screen on May 4th at participating AMC Theatres, Rammbock: Berlin Undead.
Most of you know how I feel about spoilers so I will do my very best to tiptoe around that dangerous area as I give you my review of this absolutely wonderful film.
I’ve always been a huge zombie fan, thanks to catching George A. Romero’s original masterpiece one Halloween night and much to my surprise the very next day at the video store I learned that it had a sequel on VHS entitled Dawn of the Dead, about five minutes into that film I was securely hooked on the genre. From there I jumped to Zombie by Lucio Fulci and then back to Romero for Day of the Dead and carrying on to Return of the Living Dead. I found that my well of great Zombie films started to dry up a bit in the 90’s but in 2002, Danny Boyle gave us a new direction, a faster one with 28 Days Later…and thankfully the Zombie genre still hasn’t show any signs of slowing down. Though like in the 80’s its starting to get a bit tricky to find the best zombie films to invest your time watching.
Thankfully I can confidently point to Director Marvin Kren and Screen Playwright Benjamin Hessler’s Rammbock: Berlin Undead as not only a wonderful film but like Danny Boyle before them they’ve smartly added a new twist to the Zombie mythos. For the infected in this film while behaving like Boyle’s Rage Virus infected populace not only have a weakness (I’ll go into that just a bit later) they also share some of Romero’s Living Dead traits as they are quite…bitey. But unlike those two Zombie universes, if you happen to be bit by them or find you have an open wound that gets in contact with infected blood…it’s doesn’t mean the absolute end. There is a chance that you can survive it but only if you make sure that you do not get agitated, you must remain calm for your body to fight off the infection. Of course that is kind of the problem, how does one remain calm when you find yourself under siege by the undead?
Much credit needs to be heaped on the acting talents of Michael Fuith (Michael) and Theo Trebs (Harper) because most of the movie succeeds on their likeability, and especially so with Michael as you immediately feel sympathy for his character upon his introduction. At the start of the film we meet Michael as he has just arrived to Berlin from Vienna in front of his ex-girlfriend’s, Gabi (Anka Graczyk), apartment complex to try and make a stand for himself in regards to his love for her. The movie wastes no time in planting Michael in danger though as after a few minutes of watching a plumber in Gabi’s apartment getting angrier and angrier, Michael excuses himself to make a call on his cellphone where he briefly meets the plumber’s assistant, Harper, before watching minutes later as the young boy is attacked. Michael and Harper are able to force the infected man out of the apartment without any injury, but Michael loses their only means of communication outside the door as they do so. Just in time to get a window seat to the beginnings of the siege from the infected in the apartment plaza below.
Marvin Kren wisely chooses to focus not on the infected or the gore that much, his film focuses on survival. Michael and Harper are safe from the infected and from their window they are able to briefly communicate with a few souls that are in the same situation. The two have a pretty serious problem as after a few days they have no food but an offer for some comes with a price, from a man across the plaza whose wife has been infected. He has food he can give them but he needs sedatives for his wife so that she won’t succumb to her illness. From two other survivors in the complex across the plaza, Michael learns that right next door to Gabi’s apartment is a woman whose brother is a pharmacist, the woman is so addicted to them a neighbor claims she has to have her stomach pumped once a month. Of course the question is how do Michael and Harper get to that apartment and into it without being killed doing so?
Here is where I end the spoilers…almost. The infected in Rammbock foam at the mouth and their skin looks as if it starts to peel away at the beginning of the infection, but the feature that stands out most is the eyes of those infected become a milky white as the rage takes them and as we soon learn they have a weakness, an aversion to bright lights.
The movie is on the short side, it has a running time of only 64 minutes, but please do not think that this movie isn’t extremely satisfying. It has a very strong beginning, middle, and end. I can only hope that this film will find its audience as I not only want to see a sequel to the film but more importantly I want the joy and opportunity of visiting the world with its characters once again.
Remember that participating AMC Theatres are debuting Rammbock: Berlin Undead on May 4th! Make sure to visit the Bloody Disgusting Selects official site to see the theatres that will be hosting this film.