Full disclosure, I love a zombie film. The zombie genre is a true art form, that many people routinely undervalue or disregard. But I ask, where would the world be today without knowing the true thrill of flesh-eating undead monsters? However, not every zombie movie is made equal. The Night Eats The World is a French zombie movie that is almost a survival guide for the very inevitable zombie apocalypse that I am currently preparing for.
The movie begins as Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) goes to a party held in an apartment located in Paris, purely to see his ex-girlfriend. In true zombie film style, Sam falls asleep in a room, and when he wakes up the world has gone to shit. Somehow Sam has managed to sleep through a horrific slaughter, but upon awakening, he discovers that the safest place to be is locked inside the apartment—that is now empty. He spends the remainder of the film trying to create a safe space to protect himself from the outside world. However, he is constantly reminded of the threat just waiting for him outside his window, should he ever run out of food or resources.
This film is not new. It sits within a genre that has been repeatedly reworked, a genre which holds many classics that this film will sadly be compared against. This is unfortunate, because not every film about the undead is the same, nor should it be the same. I only have one criteria; it should be entertaining, and it is entertainment that The Night Eats The World provides, but only in fits and starts.
The film succeeds in showing Sam’s downward spiral as he experiences isolation and loneliness. It doesn’t have action every five seconds, but focuses on how a human would survive during a zombie apocalypse. While the film works on some levels, the narrative drags on, and at times, it leaves you desperate for some flesh-eating action!
Sam manages to lockdown the entire apartment block, clean it up, and build a stock pile of food to survive post-apocalypse. Let me just say, that if there is a zombie apocalypse, I too hope to get stuck in a beautiful Parisian apartment building with views of the Eiffel tower. At times the movie does feel very hipster, in that the filmmakers put a lot of effort into ensuring the apartment looked trendy, the view of Paris was majestic, and that Sam was arty and cool. However, this aesthetic is disrupted at times by the stark contrast of the manic zombies.
Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty and talk zombie. Since the birth of these undead monsters, we have seen many a zombie depicted onscreen. The Night Eats the World fits into a particular category of zombie that has become more popular in this century—the fast zombie.
Much like the ‘Infected’ from the originator of the fast zombie in 28 Days Later, The Night Eats the World has made the decision to make their zombies as scary as possible, even though they don’t make a regular appearance onscreen. When they do show up to attack Sam, these were the moments that had me on edge, feeling the familiar heart pump of watching half mutilated zombies scratch and claw at human flesh. If I were to reach for a zombie film again (which I most definitely will in the near future), I don’t think I will be reaching for this one. It is not because it is bad, but like I said, there are just too many good ones already.
If you are a true zombie aficionado than you will understand a zombie film does not need to be amazing, but it does require a quota of splattered blood, brains and gore—which this film only sometimes provides. To fellow zombie fans, I still recommend seeing this film; a horde of mindless zombies with a side of French culture shouldn’t be missed. However, if zombie movies don’t float your boat, I’d give this one a miss.
The Night Eats the World comes to Luna cinemas tomorrow, Thursday 9 May.