Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans

HERD ***


Directed by Steven Pierce.
Starring Ellen Adair, Mitzi Akaha, and Jeremy Holm.

Horror, US, 97 minutes.


Released in the UK On Digital and DVD on 23rd October.


Reviewed as part of the Pigeon Shrine FrightFest 2023.


Coming up with an original spin on zombie cinema seems almost impossible, with the glut of media across all platforms showing the undead in all varieties with a few subtexts to play with. In his directorial debut, Steven Pierce makes a decent fist of things here by supplying an interesting twist on proceedings with smart character work that rises above the usual zombie tropes and cliches, which can also be found here.


Married couple Jamie and Alex take a trip to go kayaking up a backwoods river to mend the growing distance between them after a recent tragedy. Ignoring the constant news bulletins in the background warning of an alarming viral outbreak with the infected acting violently, the two women soon find themselves slap-bang in the middle of an increasingly worsening situation after Alex breaks her leg. Soon encountering several heavily armed trigger-happy rednecks all too eager to blast away anyone with the slightest symptoms, Jamie finds herself involuntarily reckoning with her own family history while trying to hide the true nature of her relationship from the less-than-understanding locals, all of this before reckoning with a competing militia even more heavily armed and with designs on raiding them for their own dwindling supplies.


Fans of THE WALKING DEAD will undoubtedly find themselves treading on familiar ground, no matter the slight differences the infected hordes take on here. Even the squabbles between survivors over dwindling resources take on a familiar beat. However, the characters playing out these familiar situations make HERD stand above the overpopulated crowd here. Redneck stereotypes are fully fleshed out and subverted here in a satisfying manner, giving the sizable cast much more to work with than is usually found in low-budget zombie cinema. The film is a sympathetic approach in attempting to understand the seemingly ever-widening gap in American society that is occurring now more than ever.


The cast also helps in a sympathetic approach in attempting to understand the seemingly ever-widening gap in American society that still is here. Ellen Adair’s plucky performance of a woman in conflict on several levels impresses, and there are also welcome appearances from the villainous Timothy V. Murphy and Jeremy Holm, further bolstering his reputation as the busiest man in independent horror as the militia leaders at odds with each other. Corbin Bernsen however, fails to make an impression as Jamie’s father, with an underwritten part.


While some may find what the film says obvious, HERD is still a worthwhile and interesting watch that leads to a satisfying, action-packed and well-staged conclusion.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans