Rammbock: Berlin Undead Movie Review
(Image taken from the movie Rammbock: Berlin Undead)
Michael Fuith, Theo Trebs, Anka Graczyk
8 out of 10 brains
NOTE: Rammbock is presented in German with English subtitles. This reviewer must warn you, dear reader, that he speaks fluent German. Therefore, this review may contain a slight bias, as this reviewer seeks out and treasures German movies, especially German zombie movies.
Marvin Kren, the hitherto unknown Austrian director, has crafted a worthy and concise entry in zombie cinema. Concise might be an understatement: with a running time of barely over an hour, this movie has no time for superfluousness, which, sadly, leaves our characters slightly underdeveloped. Nonetheless, Rammbock creates an emotional connection rare among zombie movies.
Michael or “Michi” arrives in Berlin to confront his ex-girlfriend, Gabi, and salvage their relationship, which she recently ended. In her apartment, Michi encounters not Gabi, but a maintenance man and his apprentice, Harper. The maintenance man appears demented and attacks Michi. Michi and Harper force the deranged maintenance man out of the apartment and barricade the door, realizing that other people are aggressively storming up the stairwell.
Michi and Harper quickly learn that an unknown virus, “like rabies,” has infected the population of Berlin. Michi and Harper attempt to communicate with the other survivors in this dark and dreary Berlin apartment building, seeking a means to survive this apparent apocalypse and save Gabi.
Rammbock has moments of humor, such as Harper’s attempt to fashion a makeshift slingshot out of silverware. It also has moments of heartbreak and despair, such as when a neighbor desperately seeks to obtain medication for his infected wife. But Rammbock primarily presents a claustrophobic and intimate glimpse at the zombie apocalypse, ultimately focusing on the survivor’s despair. It does so without relying on clichéd genre conventions: Kren keeps the gore to a minimum and instead relies on suspense to evoke fear and dread. No hail of bullets showering hordes of zombies, no machetes buried in zombie skulls. The survivors run, hide and avoid.
According to this humble reviewer’s opinion, zombie movie are at their best when they use the zombie apocalypse to explore deeper social issues and the behavior of humans when placed in extreme circumstances. Kren succeeds at creating a zombie movie as an examination of social interactions and shows us humans at their best and worst. The survivors sometimes act cowardly and at other times heroically, they act selfishly and selflessly. Through it all, this movie presents us with characters worth rooting for and shows us that humanity is worth saving.