Tuesday, July 5

Some quick thoughts on Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2010)

From the DVD: Just when Michael arrives in Berlin to visit his ex-girlfriend Gabi, a terrible virus starts spreading across the city at a rapid pace, turning people into mindless homicidal maniacs. Much to Michael's concern, Gabi's not home; instead, he meets Harper, a teenage plumber's apprentice at work in her apartment block. Together, they manage to barricade themselves when raging hordes of infected people swarm the building. Surrounded by these thirsty zombies, Michael and Harper have their hands full to survive - and it will take all of their ingenuity to make their way out to try and find Gabi.

After long hearing a generally positive consensus regarding Marvin Kren's German zombie import, Rammbock (Siege of the Dead), I feel hesitant to say that it didn't particularly strike me as compelling. Don't get me wrong, you'll enjoy and want to see the film through during its streamline sixty-one minute duration. It's just tough to recommend actually picking up a copy with the experience feeling so one-and-done.

You could say that Rammbock is an example of modern undead horror without the expected chaff. It seems like many filmmakers in the post-Snyder Dawn '04 wave of zombie cinema feel the need to cater to fan service. Or loading up their work with a wet dream of gory attacks, for better-or-worse. Kren, either knowingly rejecting this urge or trying to avoid the ire of Germany's draconian censorship doctrine, focuses almost solely on the living's perils in dire circumstances. There's hardly even any blood to the disappointment of those aware of the extreme doings of German goremeisters Andreas Schnaas and Olaf Ittenbach. This direct precision on human drama echoes what makes us love Romero's work (well, the first three). Still, this aspect doesn't feel strong or deep enough to warrant anything more than a decent single rental if you're in a pinch. If anything, wait to see if more of this comes from the country, there's much untapped potential here.

Vivendi Entertainment's fresh U.S. DVD, under the new Bloody Disgusting Selects line, is a pretty skimpy package. The 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is anamorphic yet interlaced and even exhibits fleeting blocking during rapid action. Strange when the film and extras barely total ninety minutes. The presentation doesn't show any signs of being a botched PAL-to-NTSC conversion. The German 5.1 Dolby (w/ white removable English subs) does a fine job of highlighting the surprisingly effective score. The extras include a fifteen minute subtitled making-of and Stefan Lukacs' Zombiefication, an unrelated short structured as a safety film in case of zombie invasion. Since I picked this up at Wal Mart, just wait a couple months for cheap used copies to pile up on Amazon if you're still interested.

(direct disc captures, saved as .pngs, capture three shows the extent of the combing)


Maynard Morrissey said...

thought that this was one of the more entertainimg zombie flicks of the last years

bruce holecheck said...

I'm pretty much agree completely -- I watched it the other night, and while I didn't hate it, I also didn't think it was anything I'd need to revisit. Ever.

These Bloody Disgusting Selects titles are actually playing White Marsh, but I've had a hard time mustering up the enthusiasm required to go. I *may* check out COLD FISH on the big screen, but I'm still undecided. Paying $11 to see a digital projection of a potentially mediocre movie is asking a lot...

Eric Cotenas said...

I reviewed the UK Revolver disc for DVDBeaver (http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film3/dvd_reviews52/siege_of_the_dead.htm). It runs 61:28. No extras.

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?

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