Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2011)

Fans of the zombie sub-genre are ensconced in the walking dead these days as Hollywood and filmmakers all over the world in every corner have found taking to the living dead to be a source of creativity and an unlimited audience who want to see who can take the belt from Romero. “Rammbock” has an hour long to tell multiple stories and screenwriter Benjamin Kressler is up to the challenge staging the end of the world in modern Germany at the hands of raging infectious monsters, all of whom have a taste for blood and are relentless.

Average loser Michi has arrived at the flat of his ex-girlfriend Gabi in Germany to deliver her her house keys and a pathetic hope in winning her back, but in the midst of entering her building gun fire and growls sprinkle the city backdrop and he is attacked by a repairman who has just turned in to one of the monsters. Stuck inside the apartment with a young assistant handy man named Harper, the two must figure out a way to make sense of the carnage, battle the zombies outside their door (without weapons), and stave off hunger as the hours draw on and it becomes increasingly apparent this is not a merely isolated incident ending any time soon.

Meanwhile across the alley, neighbors in a parallel building communicate with the two men through sign language, signs, and Morse code, and one of them is in desperate need of medicine for his wife. Promising them food in exchange, the two devise ways to get out of their apartment and make across the alley in to the neighboring flat relying on hope, their wits, and desperation. “Rammbock” is about as exciting and intense as it sounds with Michi and Harper running in and out of neighboring apartments and through crevices of the apartment building, constantly finding ways to out maneuver the horde of the walking dead trying to get to them.

Marvin Kren works well within the confines of the limited budget and time restraints providing a quick horror fix for anyone looking for a good scare or two. He garners new interesting ways to keep these two characters fighting for their lives and is always devising clever ways to outwit the walking dead, even when the finale rolls around with a surprise twist. Kren’s direction is sharp and gritty and though most of the horror is limited to the small closing of the apartment buildings, there is plenty of post-apocalyptic drama and terror to be had with nail biting moments where both men barely make it out of rooms by the skins of their teeth and an action packed climax that is both harrowing and terrifying.

While Kren doesn’t entirely focus on the whole of Germany and the aftermath of the apocalypse, he does include some grim shots of landscapes being ravaged and a question mark climax that leaves the door open for more epic takes on this judgment day in Germany. It’s always good to see filmmakers taking the tired sub-genre of zombies and turn it in to something that can entertain audiences with its fresh new take and dose of reality. Fans of the zombie sub-genre will be elated at this German import that takes the usual end of the world walking dead scenario and adds some urban grit to it with clever plot twists, solid performances, and a wicked dose of horror for anyone in the mood for a short but sweet genre entry.