20th Oct2023

‘Herd’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Ellen Adair, Mitzi Akaha, Jeremy Holm, Timothy V. Murphy, Corbin Bernsen | Written by Steven Pierce, James Allerdyce, Matt Mundy | Directed by Steven Pierce

Director Steven Pierce, whose resume – until now – consisted of short films and Concert features, turns his hand to his first full-length scripted film with Herd – the latest in a very long line of zombie movies. And also the latest in a long line of zombie movies that aren’t JUST about the impending end of civilisation at the hands of the shuffling undead. In fact, Herd has a LOT of levels to it. A lot.

On the surface it’s about a woman, Jamie (Ellen Adair), and her partner Alex (Mitzi Akaha,) trying to survive a just-begun zombie outbreak but scratch a little deeper and you get a story about a troubled relationship – not just the one between Jamie and Alex but also Jamie’s father, played by a cameoing Corbin Bernsen; who bites the farm at the hands of one of the undead in the films opening scene but who also turns up in flashback showing the audience just why Jamie is so troubled and why that’s affecting her current relationship.

Then there are the other survivors. A combination of townsfolk Jamie once knew and a newly-formed militia, who shoot first and ask if people are zombies second. The kind of people who love guns and hate those not like them, be they zombies or LGBT alike… All of which means Jamie is under fire from all sides. And on top of all that she has to relive the horrifying beatings her father gave her when confronting his corpse in the very building the beatings took place!

It’s a lot to take in for not only Jamie but the audience too. All of this hits you like a ton of bricks in the film’s first half – with a mixture of impactful scenes both the fast-paced, swiftly-edited zombie attacks to the emotional gut-punches of the film’s early flashbacks. Thankfully the script, from director Pierce and co-writers James Allerdyce and Matt Mundy, slows the pace down at the halfway mark, giving the audience a chance to catch their breath from the zombie action but still managing to take us on an emotional rollercoaster as Jamie uses this time to confront her emotions.

The lull in the zombie action lets Pierce and co. give us further insight into the film’s more human cast – and the divides between the townsfolk who knew Jamie’s father and those more militant who would use any opportunity to take what they want from who they want. Thought there’s a fine line between the two camps because as we all know, ultimately man is REALLY the monster in these types of films. As is certainly the case here.

Some might say that the end of Herd lets the film down. Yes, everything is wrapped up a little too neatly but it makes a nice change to have a zombie film not end on a bleak note…

**** 4/5

Herd is set for a UK DVD and Digital release on October 20th, courtesy of High Fliers.


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