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A lesbian couple going through relationship problems. Strangers in the woods. A hostile militia group. A rural zombie apocalypse: what an action-packed movie – a zombie film actually – feels all too familiar, but first-time director Steven Pierce tries his best with Herd. Speaking in an interview recently, Pierce called Herd “an extended episode of The Last of Us”. It’s got that vibe to it, if nothing else. However, despite its trim screenplay and low budget look, the picture occasionally pops thanks to thespians many of whom deliver memorable performances.

The plot of Herd involves one married lesbian couple trying to fix their shattered relationship. Jamie (Ellen Adair) and her wife Alex (Mitzi Akaha) go on a canoeing trip somewhere in rural Missouri; things get tense along the way. Alex is worried about Jamie being closed down while Jamie cannot get out of her traumatic past. When Alex breaks her leg, Jamie drags her wife to find help. Some locals seem friendly enough while others are more sinister than they appear to be or would admit; either way one thing is clear these two are at risk. Also there is, well you know they learn about zombie outbreak soon after that.

Herd was also written by James Allerdyce and Pierce himself and features Corbin Bernsen from The Resident and L.A Law as well as Dana Snyder who starred in Aqua Teen Hunger Force among others such as Jeremy Holm who acted in House of Cards,Timothy V.Murphy,Amanda Fuller ,and Jeremy again.

When Robert Miller (Bernsen) appears at his garage located in rural Missouri during the opening scene of Herd he urgently moves towards an old CB radio holding a gun trying to reach someone through frequency link-up that’s situated opposite him.Danger lies ahead.As expected we can see over his shoulder the now ever-familiar image – love it or hate it- we have come to associate with zombies since The Walking Dead opened the floodgates for zombie IP. There’s little added value from watching Robert fight this particular zombie compared to what we’ve already seen in other zombie stories, but there is a bit of intrigue here that draws you in.

The movie does provide some context, even if it isn’t entirely clear initially, when Jamie and Alex are shown planning their canoeing trip. There is a bit of angst here and in short flashbacks we see that Jamie has some unresolved issues from her past. These elements are further developed as the film progresses especially after Jamie and Alex capsized their canoe. On the highway, they meet a stranger called Big John Gruber (Holm) who might not be trustworthy. The sequence before describes why; albeit clichéd from other zombie flicks or TV shows it still works well here.

Jamie and Alex are taken in by Big John Gruber and soon introduced to others who have been holing up inside what looks like an underground shelter. There are some inconsistencies with this setting especially when you get to the end part of the movie only to realize that the zombie outbreak is relatively new. Conversely, these people appear to have taken refuge here for quite a while now. That may be overlooked by viewers because there is more depth and involvement than just zombies present in this area.

This tale is a story about Jamie the more it plays out and the more her past is revealed. Adair seems to be playing as a married woman who is at crossroads in life with Mitzi Akaha. She refreshingly performs very strongly by capturing the determined spirit that her character possesses. It appears to be quite easy, it appears, to overact Jamie a little bit by doing and saying things that are far too dramatic; however, miraculously enough, she becomes somebody you care about and cheer for – courtesy of Adair.

Small islands going against wider society, this is what Steven Pierce’s movie basically conveys. Including such an army group here sounds rather improbable especially as these criminals look like they walked out of The Expendables. Alpha males suited up Military trucks Big guns Many too many of them here in rural Missouri What this army unit has really fight with Big Jon Gruber’s gang isn’t obvious but knowing it doesn’t make the film any better than it already is.

Still there are some good things about Herd though . This fear comes through from several zombie scenes. The last episode of the movie makes one tense up. So why not see how it plays out since you are so deep into it by now? Herd works for telling a story of a woman who wanted to forget her past but ended up encountering zombies and being caught among men struggling for control.

However since we’re leaning into spinning modern stories here, what would it have felt like if things were spun differently here? Filmmakers: you’ve already given us something unique. A lesbian couple at a turning point Brava And this is a lesbian couple audiences are bound to care about Audience can easily relate with such a pair – so let’s push further Shall we try? A story where women ran the show would certainly be much more interesting but we need you big john gruber too big jane gruber sounds more captivating don’t you think? What if the women rounded up the townsfolk and took care of people? However… let’s not rewrite the film. Cowardly enough, despite some curious editing choices in Herd and occasionally feeling like it’s been lifted from The Last of Us idea box.

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