Rammbock: Berlin Undead


[a.k.a. Siege of the Dead]
Dir: Marvin Kren
Star: Michael Fuith, Theo Trebs, Anka Graczyk, Carsten Behrendt

This is a very stripped-down zombie flick, less than an hour from start to end credits. Michael (Fuith) arrives in Berlin, on the pretext of dropping off keys, but hoping to patch things up with his ex-girlfriend Gabi (Graczyk). Hardly has he arrived, before he's attacked by a psychotic mob, and has to take refuge in Gabi's apartment, along with maintenance guy, Harper (Trebs). Facing dwindling supplies of food, and with the whole city apparently under attack by the infected, they and the other inhabitants have to figure out how to cope with an increasingly untenable situation. There's a report that evacuation by ship is a possibility, and there is a boat on the canal at the back of the building. However, it's only big enough for two people, and getting there will be a perilous endeavour, when the slightest noise brings a pack of the deranged down on you. On the other hand, they do appear to be like Gremlins, and have a strong aversion to bright light...

Obviously, there's not much time to spare, and characters are entirely defined by their actions, e.g. Michael's devotion to Gabi, even after he finds out the reason for her absence. It's mostly the mechanics of survival that matter, and it plays to some extent like an adventure game, e.g. they need sedatives from the next-door apartment to counteract the effects of being bitten, so how do they get in there? It's less effective when trying to do much else, and the movie definitely leaves you hanging at the end, with a whole host of unresolved issues. However, likely better for any movie to be too short than too long, and the one location adds a claustrophobic degree of tension that's missing in more expansive entries for the genre. The cinematography, in a muted palette of green and grey, adds to the apocalyptic feel, and one senses there's not much hope for the world at large. Unless someone can find an enormous warehouse stuffed with sedatives, at least.

B-
[December 2011]


German
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