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Zombies in the Piazza.

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn August 7, 2010 at 7:19AM

Zombies in the Piazza.

Every evening in Locarno, the festival screens a new movie on its massive Piazza screen for some 8,000 people. So far, the best one that I've seen is actually a bit simplistic, but ideal for the environment nonetheless. "Rammbock," which for now has to suffer from comparisons to that other zombie movie playing at Locarno, provides satisfactory riffs on the modern conventions of the genre in just under an hour of the usual running, screaming, moaning and tactful evading of the lurching undead. "L.A. Zombie" shares roughly the same running time but doesn't actually belong to the zombie genre; it simply imports the visual reference points in service of a very different objective, and will certainly let down anyone hoping to watch reanimated human corpses searching for brains.

"Rammbock," on the other hand, will not. The director, Marvin Kren, applies his obviously limited budget to a claustrophobic setting, with a band of survivors basically staying within the confines of an apartment complex for the entire movie. Borrowing elements from "Sean of the Dead" and Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" remake (a sad sack looking for his missing ex and running zombies, respectively), Kren doesn't offer anything new but seems to have a firm grasp on delivering the things that have worked before. He also has no bones about borrowing a plot device from "Rear Window," which is probably a first for a movie that panders to audiences who prefer more simplistic shocks that Hitchcock typically delivered. And the ending is effectively stylish, enough to show that Kren has the goods and can probably use them to make a more fleshed out movie sometime in the future. At any rate, it's bound to please the crowds at Fantastic Fest next month.

Here's the trailer: