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DVD Shopping Bag: Rammbock: Berlin is Dead

A German Zombie tale anyone?

By Robert T. Trate     July 19, 2011
Source: Mania.com

Bloody Disgusting Selects present: Rammbock
© The Collective/ Bloody Disgusting


While having dinner with some collogues and Bill Lustig, the director of Maniac (1980), we started talking about Zombies movies; what we had seen lately and if anything really been worth while. Someone at the table mentioned a new Zombie movie set in Germany that didn’t feature Nazi Zombies. I, for one, will never tire of Nazi Zombies in their video game form. Dead Snow (2009), on the other hand, has left me weary of Nazi Zombie movies. The movie mentioned was Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2010). I found a copy and without ever watching the trailer (included below), ventured into the unknown.
A couple of quick things before you even watch this movie: This film has been brought to the states by Bloody Disgusting and is one of their select titles. After seeing this on the box, I had little hope for the film. I am not a movie snob per se, but I know that all Horror films are not created equal. The Bloody Disgusting label let me think I was going to encounter something less than Cabin Fever (2002) and certainly not Halloween (1978). This is also a German film which means subtitles. My When faced with the option of subtitles or dubbing, my suggestion is to read the subtitles and let the actors’ emotions come out. A bad dub can ruin the emotion of a scene. Subtitles also make you more in tune with what is going on. You can’t walk away and listen while you are watching it at home. Finally, the film’s box says it is 63 minutes long. At one point I thought this thing better really kick into high gear quick because it is almost over. It kicks in and the story really does takes off. It accomplishes more in an hour than most two hour feature lengths films do. Don’t let the time persuade you to look else where. Afterwards, you’ll feel as if you lived with the characters.
Rammbock: Berlin is Dead starts off very simplistically. Michael (Michael Fuith) is returning a set of keys to his ex-girlfriend Gabi (Anna Graczyk). Intercut with the opening credits are photographs of happier times between Gabi and Michael. Michael arrives at Gabi’s flat and immediately encounters two maintenance men. Our story begins with one of the two men becoming a Zombie. With many Zombie flicks there is the character of the “citizen soldier”; an ordinary person who has to be more than he or she ever thought they could be. Jim (Cillian Murphy) from 28 Days Later (2002) and Barbara (Patricia Tallman) from the remake of Night of the Living Dead (1990) are prime examples. We start and end with these characters because it is their journey we are embarking on. Fuith’s Michael is not very appealing on the outside. He is slightly over weight, balding, and frumpy. Your perfect every day man. When the shit does hit the fan, Michael is quick to react but changes little to adapt to the new circumstances. Thankfully, Harper (Theo Trebs) acts in the way the audience is thinking and keeps Michael alive long enough for the story to take hold. It is these two strangers that have to work together to survive the outbreak.
Director Marvin Kren invokes one of cinema’s classic films, Rear Window (1954), as a tool to allow us into the horror of Rammbock. We are only shown a courtyard and the back windows of several different flats as our look into the horror that is unfolding. Below we, like Michael and Harper, are forced to watch the carnage transpire and remain helpless as people fend for their lives. We also see this as we look into the different windows. We witness how people fight off the zombies, contemplate suicide, and ask their neighbors for help. Kren evokes a great feeling of helplessness and sorrow in the film.
A way out and the plan to survive is always the next logical and final step in a Zombie movie. Rammbock brings you to this moment slowly. It supplies you with enough key ingredients that you don’t feel as if they have been rammed down your throat. This isn’t a gore fest Zombie flick nor does it use Zombies as a metaphor. This is a very dramatic and emotional story that takes the unlikeliest of characters and makes him into a real hero. The ride is a mere 63 minute,s but it is a story that will be with you long after it is over.
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Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings and criticisms.



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ultrazilla2000 7/19/2011 2:16:41 PM

I'm curious to know why you had such low expectations based on the BloodyDisgusting label?  Was it because they are fairly new to this, or because of some bias against their news website?  The guy who runs it can be a bit of a douche at times, but he does expect quality and keeps up a fun site.



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