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April 30, 2013


Rammbock: Berlin Undead

by Franz Patrick

Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2010)
★★ / ★★★★

Gabi (Anna Graczyk) asks Michael (Michael Fuith) to return the keys to her apartment because their relationship is over. She means for him to send them via post, but he thinks it will be a great gesture for him to return it personally. When Michael enters Gabi’s apartment, his ex-girlfriend is nowhere to be found. There is a plumber working on some pipes, but he is unresponsive to Michael’s questions. A few seconds later, the strange man with blood-shot eyes and ravenous demeanor attacks his partner, a teenage plumber named Harper (Theo Trebs), without reason. It turns out a virus has taken over Berlin.

“Rammbock: Berlin Undead,” written by Benjamin Hessler and directed by Marvin Kren, at its best, offers something new on how to repel zombies while, at its worst, sticking to conventions of the sub-genre.

Just about an hour long, which feels like an hour and thirty minutes, the movie might have been better if it had taken more risks by having fun. Set in modern times, I am always at a loss when characters in zombie movies seem like they have never seen a zombie flick. I find it frustrating that a mere utter of the word “zombie” is treated as a sin. It should not be. Since the characters are unaware, they are left with nothing better to do than to learn what the audiences already know. Where is the fun and excitement in that?

The picture takes place in an apartment complex where the residents hide in their respective spaces. Naturally, some of their loved ones become infected and the neighbors watch in horror from afar as the infected eat his or her family members.

Characters stumbling upon a unique way of preventing a zombie from chasing them does not save it from being average. Michael and Harper spend the majority of the time being stuck in Gabi’s apartment. Michael being an unlikable, delusional slug is actually a good thing. He is no hero; I was convinced that if faced with an infected, he would have no problem pushing someone else in front of him just so he could get away and continue to hope that he would see Gabi alive and willing to take him back.

The filmmakers should have taken more advantage of the environment. The chase sequences are exciting not just due to the number of zombies during rabid attacks, but also in the decreasing amount of space Michael and Harper must squeeze themselves through–slowly hinting at an inevitable dead end. Eventually, there is a rooftop scene. I have never seen zombies chase their prey on the roof. Just when we think it just might happen, we are greeted with a missed opportunity. Showing us the view of Berlin in ruins takes precedence over what could have been an enjoyable, even humorous, rumpus over great heights.

“Rammbock” has a few good ideas but its screenplay requires more drafts in order for the good ideas to turn great, to warrant a picture genuinely standing on its own, not leaning against its contemporaries to come off smelling fresh. For example, why not sharpen the connection between the end of a romantic relationship as a literal end of the world?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. GaryLee828
    Apr 30 2013

    This one sounds interesting; I think I will give it a shot within the next few days. I started watching that “Pase 7” you recently covered, but didn’t get far. I didn’t find it particularly interesting. But you didn’t rate it very high, so you didn’t care for it much, either.

    I hope this one is better, but I see you didn’t rate this one high, either, but it seems you didn’t like the more serious tone of the film, and wanted more of a fun vibe, but I like a serious tone for any kind of horror story, so I may like it better than you. I will try to watch soon and let you know what I think.

    • Apr 30 2013

      You might like it more than “Fase 7,” but I wouldn’t expect to be impressed! It oozes generic most of the time. I did like this one slightly more.. that is, if I am forced to choose one over the other.

      The danger with movies I give 2 stars is that there’s a 50-50 chance, since I don’t give 1/2 stars, I don’t recommend them. =p

      I still think it’s great that you can start a movie and stop at any time. I just can’t do it!

      • GaryLee828
        Apr 30 2013

        The first thing I noticed on your comment was the “5” and then the “0” next to it, and I immediately thought of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie 500 Days of Summer and was wondering if you were bringing it up; then I remembered JGL had another film 50-50; then I realized JGL is probably the only actor to ever do multiple movies starting with the same two numbers.

        Man, I’m deep! :)

        • Apr 30 2013


          • GaryLee828
            May 7 2013

            I just watched this today. I thought it started out pretty well, and then dragged in the middle, but then got pretty good again the second half. Overall I think it was pretty good. I’d probably give it a 6.5 out of 10. I think they did a good job on a small budget. The writing, directing and acting was strong.


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