Monday, October 7, 2013

Horror Challenge #16: "Berlin Undead"

I'll be honest with you, I decided to watch this movie simply because it has a short running time, which I now realize was unfair to the movie, but such is the way I often discover such gems that make the challenge worthwhile for me every year: they show up when I least expect them to.

This is a German horror movie (if the title didn't clue you in) and it begins with a man traveling from Vienna to Berlin to have a talk with his ex girlfriend, trying to tell her that he still loves her.  when he arrives, she's not there, and there are some workmen in her apartment, so he hangs around, practicing his speech for her, while one of the workmen starts to act strange.  Before we know it, we're thrust into a zombie epidemic, with zombies that are more like the "creatures of rage" from the movie "28 Days Later" than any re-animated corpses. 

At first I didn't like the main character, because I thought he was whiny and annoying, and also kind of a creeper, traveling a long distance to talk to his ex when she simply asked him to mail her keys rather than show up with them in person.  But he grows on me as the movie plays out, because he really is a nice guy, kind of mild-mannered but willing to try and do the right thing and help his fellow motley crew of apartment dwellers survive the outbreak.  The young guy trapped in the apartment with him, Harper, who was one of the workmen, isn't a bad character, either.  No one is developed completely, but in a case like this, when the world starts to fall apart when we least expect it, this is what would happen, people who barely know each other would suddenly be fighting to survive.

I really dug the ending, too, where a character makes a sacrifice that actually brought tears to my eyes, and I loved the imagery of the desolate city full of infected people.  It really does look like the end of the world.  The movie plays with some of the zombie movie conventions as well, giving some interesting new ideas about how the virus is passed along and some possible ways to combat it.  Overall I just really enjoyed this movie, and I'm planning to buy it at some point.  It's everything I look for in this challenge: a movie that surprises me and reminds me why I watch horror movies in the first place.

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