Director: Marvin Kren / Writer: Benjamin Hessler (screenplay) / Starring: Sebastian Achilles, Ingrid Beerbaum, and Carsten Behrendt
Just a week after watching the zombie-like vampires of Stake Land, I had an opportunity last Friday night to check out a real zombie movie from a German perspective. Weighing in at only 61 minutes, this movie does not at all end up feeling like a short one, and I mean that in a good way. At points midway through the movie and beyond, I found myself wondering, “wow, how are they going have time to wrap this up?” The movie built a nice level of suspense and dramatic tension, and had a fair amount of good make-you-jump type scare factor. I walked in expecting it to be somewhat gory and even kitschy, but ultimately found it to be much more serious and somber. Again, I mean that in a good way.
Rammbock tells the story of a somewhat pathetic man named Michael who has come to Berlin to return keys to his ex-girlfriend, Gabi. He enters Gabi’s apartment to find workers who appear to be doing repairs on her heating system. Not long after he’s come into the apartment, one of the workmen suddenly snaps, and from that point forward it’s very clear: don’t get bit, or you’ll be a zombie in no time.
The scenario Michael and his new young companion Harper find themselves in is an interesting one: the apartment building is square with a large open courtyard in the middle, and even though they’ve been forced to barricade themselves in Gabi’s apartment, they are able to communicate with other non-zombie apartment-dwellers across the courtyard. They quickly discover the gravity of the situation when one of the neighbors across the way attempts to go down to the courtyard and close off the gates to the street while there aren’t any zombies in sight.
Michael wonders whether he’ll learn of Gabi’s whereabouts as he and Harper embark on a mission out of her apartment and into other parts of the building. The zombies in this movie are not the same slow, brain-hungry zombies we are accustomed to, but instead are fast and furious (sorry) monsters eager to get a bite of any part of their victims. Of course, we’re willing to suspend our disbelief and let the monsters be whatever they need to be for the story to continue on, and in the case of Rammbock I am inclined to say its well worth the investment of disbelief.
Michael, Harper, Gabi, and the other characters in this movie end up feeling well-rounded and real, in spite of the movie being barely over an hour long. The drama contains a surprising level of sincerity for a zombie flick, and the characters are so genuine that the viewer is left with an impressive sense of emotional investment in how the movie ends.
I’m not sure how many markets this movie will play in the US, but it has already been subtitled so I’d expect you may be able to find it on DVD sometime in late 2011. I’d recommend that you do that.