French horror cinema is enjoying a period of unparalleled creative success, and it comes as no surprise to me that this coincides with a period of civil unrest in the country. Issues such as the economy, pensions, the retirement age, and immigration have seen citizens take to the streets in protest. There is a noble tradition of striking in France, a tradition that seems in large part to have the sympathy of the population (an attitude which is quite different in the UK for example) and this melting pot of political upheaval and uncertainty surfaces quite notably in the latest gore soaked French horror film The Horde. The Horde follows in the footsteps of Switchblade Romance (2004), Frontier(s) (2007), Inside (2007) and Martyrs (2008) in its unflinching portrayal of blood and guts and while it lacks the subtlety and intelligence of Them (2006 - for my money the most accomplished French horror film of this recent new wave) it makes up for this with its political overtones. Several of these major French horror films are ‘home invasion’ narratives, they offer a bourgeois vision of bland suburbia which is then shattered by the return of past events. The Horde situates its action in a rotting apartment block in Northern Paris, flipping the convention of middle class point of view to the perspective of rogue cops, violent gangsters, and the disenfranchised working class.
© Shaun Anderson 2010