Herd Review: A Muddled Fright

Steven Pierce‘s Herd attempts to blend the horror of a zombie outbreak with the chaos of warring militia groups, creating a nightmarish world where survival hangs by a thread. While the film boasts a talented cast, including Ellen Adair, Mitzi Akaha, Jeremy Holm, Amanda Fuller, and Dana Snyder, a convoluted narrative and inconsistent execution, drowns their talents, resulting in a lacklustre horror experience. Read on for my Herd review.

The Bad Parts Of This Herd Review:

Herd (2023).

The film’s premise, set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity grapples with both the undead and power-hungry factions, holds promise. Jamie Mille (Ellen Adair) is a woman haunted by her past, seeking solace in a world overrun by zombies and ruled by violent militias. The potential for deep character exploration in such a dire setting is immense, yet Herd squanders this opportunity by failing to provide a substantial backstory or emotional depth for its characters. Jamie’s struggles feel shallow, and her evolution throughout the film lacks the necessary depth to truly engage the audience.

The film’s major flaw lies in its inability to establish a coherent tone. At times, Herd tries to evoke genuine terror through zombie encounters, employing jump scares and grotesque imagery. However, they abruptly juxtaposition these moments with scenes of intense, yet oddly comical, confrontations between the militia groups. This inconsistent tone detracts from the overall horror experience, leaving viewers uncertain whether to be terrified or amused.

The cast delivers commendable performances.

Additionally, the pacing of Herd is erratic, with prolonged periods of sluggish storytelling punctuated by frenetic action sequences. This imbalance disrupts the flow of the narrative, making it challenging to maintain interest in the unfolding events. The film’s attempts to build suspense often fall flat, as scenes that should be tense and gripping are undermined by predictable outcomes and clichéd dialogue.

The film’s visual elements, including makeup and special effects, are a mixed bag. While the zombie designs are sufficiently gruesome, they lack the creativity and originality seen in other contemporary horror films. The practical effects are serviceable, but at times, the CGI used for larger-scale action sequences appears noticeably artificial, diminishing the impact of these moments. The cinematography captures the desolate atmosphere effectively, but it sadly fails to compensate for the film’s narrative shortcomings.

Herd suffers further from a lack of thematic depth. They don’t even explore the potential for social commentary on human nature and the struggle for power in dire circumstances. The film touches on these themes superficially, missing the opportunity to elevate the story beyond a generic zombie-militia hybrid. A more nuanced exploration of the characters’ motivations and the consequences of their actions could have elevated Herd into a thought-provoking horror film, but unfortunately, such depth remains absent.

The Good Within This Herd Review: 

Herd (2023).

Despite the film’s shortcomings, the cast delivers commendable performances. Ellen Adair portrays Jamie’s desperation and determination with sincerity, grounding the character in a semblance of reality amidst the chaos. Jeremy Holm, as the menacing militia leader Big John Gruber, exudes a palpable sense of threat, adding a degree of intensity to the film. However, lacklustre character development overshadows these standout performances, preventing the actors from fully showcasing their talents.


Herd struggles to find its footing in the oversaturated genre of zombie horror. Despite the earnest efforts of its cast and crew, the film’s muddled narrative, inconsistent tone, and lack of character depth ultimately diminish its impact. The film’s mediocrity overshadow the moments of genuine tension and decent performances. Horror enthusiasts seeking a compelling and immersive experience would have better luck looking elsewhere, as Herd fails to deliver the fear and intensity it promises.

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Herd Review: A Muddled Fright
  • Acting - 7.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 4/10
  • Watchability - 5/10
  • Rewatchability - 4/10
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About Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and journalist as well as the author of While You Sleep, The Inspiring World of Horror: The Movies That Influenced Generations, and co-author of Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters. He has been writing in the entertainment industry for over seven and a half years professionally. Throughout the years, he has written articles for publications including Gold Derby, Exclaim!, CBR, Awards Radar, Awards Watch, Flickering Myth, BRWC, Starburst Magazine, Punch Drunk Critics, Mediaversity Reviews, Vinyl Chapters, Northern Transmissions, and Beats Per Minute.