Rammbock (2010)

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2011-05-07 07:16

Written by: : Benjamin Hessler
Directed by: Marvin Kren
Starring: Michael Fuith, Anna Graczyk, and Sebastian Achilles

Reviewed by: Brett G.

You can hide, but you canít run.

Whenever a guy gets dumped by his girlfriend, someone always seems compelled to tell him that it isnít the end of the world. Donít tell that to the poor bastard in Rammbock, who finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse as he attempts to reconcile with his old lady. This German contribution to the ever-burgeoning zombie genre makes a literal hell out of one lovelorn manís emotional descent into jealousy and denial.

Michael (Michael Fuith) is the jilted guy in question, and heís traveled to Berlin in a last ditch effort to surprise Gabi (Anka Graczyk) and win her back. Instead, he finds a couple of handymen fixing up her apartment; the older guy in the duo starts acting weird before getting downright violent. Heís not the only one, either, as thereís suddenly an epidemic of people just losing their shit and becoming rabid flesh-eating creatures. Because this is a zombie movie, Michael and the remaining handyman decide to hole up in the apartment and ride the whole thing out.

Rammbock is pretty much content to be a familiar, safe addition to the legion of undead flicks out there. Itís obviously influenced by Romeroís films from a premise standpoint, but it also echoes the likes of [REC] and 28 Days Later. Those later two are particularly felt in the claustrophobic apartment setting and the filmís overall dreariness; furthermore, this is one of those zombie movies where the zombies arenít really zombies at all. Instead, theyíre ďinfected humansĒ that transmit their disease by bites; they also run (literally) in packs, which means thereís plenty of jittery, herky-jerky shots of them rushing towards their prey (another thing lifted from Boyleís film). It admittedly adds an interesting twist, though, by insisting that the condition is curable so long as the affected keeps their adrenaline levels in check. I wish the film had explored this more; however, once it looks like it's finally going to, the movie just sort of ends.

But I did like the idea and the spirit behind it; forgive me for belaboring how Rammbock keeps borrowing from other films, but the mixture of love and zombies sort of reminded me of Cemetery Man as well. Michael is an adequate lead, as heís a perfectly pathetic man who is overly anxious about Gabi from the moment heís introduced. Heís agonizing over little things like whether or not to knock on her door or just barge right in and profess his love for her; that sort of neurosis carries over well when all hell breaks loose (which happens about two minutes in, by the way), as heís still convinced that sheís out there, somewhere. This gives the film an avenue to explore some more familiar zombie territory, as so many of these films feature characters who just refuse to let go of their normal lives, no matter how silly it may be.

I donít think Rammbockís crazy quilt ever quite comes together, but itís a solid enough addition to throw onto the pile. It certainly wants to be interesting until it decides to abruptly end. Before it does that, itís got a serviceable amount of jolts and some gore bits that let Kren to show off his horror chops. While the score and the visuals are a bit bland, the production is competent overall; the only problem is that it just feels like a rough draft. Rammbock has been on the festival circuit for a while now, but itís been chosen as one of Bloody Disgusting ďSelects,Ē which means itís playing in select AMC theaters for a limited time starting this weekend. You can hit up their website for a full listing and more information; if youíre out of luck geographically, fret not--itíll be hitting DVD on June 28th. When it does, itíll be worth a look for undead enthusiasts. Rent it!

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