The Night Eats The World (2018) starring Anders Danielsen Lie and Golshifteh Farahani. Directed by Dominique Rocher.
The zombie bandwagon keeps on rolling and I just can’t get off the damn thing. The Night Eats The World starts off with our hero, Sam, going to a party in Paris to pick up some tapes from an ex-girlfriend or is it ex-roomate, the film’s not too clear on this. Anyways, he falls asleep in an office only to wake up and find that the apartment has been turned into a scene of carnage and the whole world has turned into fast moving rage zombies!
Unlike most heroes of zombie films, Sam is too terrified to leave the building and instead barricades himself inside. The film has hardly any dialogue or soundtrack and instead makes effective use of the silence. Things make you jump, weird bumps from upstairs, muffled voices, the occasional zombie outside, you really find yourself straining to hear along with Sam, are there other survivors in the building or could they be zombies? Sam isn’t the only one who starts to get paranoid about the strange sounds.
Sam eventually takes control of the building and lives off the food he raided from the other apartments. The film concentrates on Sam’s declining mental health, he’s getting cabin fever from locking himself away but is too terrified to venture outside. Plagued by nightmares of being eaten alive by the zombies, Sam spends his days listening to a Walkman and playing drums. Time passes, the water and electric eventually fail and the food situation is starting to look grim, but Sam just can’t bring himself to leave the building.
Throughout the film Sam only encounters two other survivors; a cat and a woman, and both of those end in disaster. Instead, Sam has conversations with an elderly zombie who is trapped inside the building’s elevator.
Of course in the third act, events force Sam to finally flee the building along the rooftops but the film ends there, with Sam staring at the Paris landscape with a sea of other rooftops ahead of him. By the end of the film he’s only traveled 30 feet from his point of origin.
The film has a lot going for it, a great performance from the actor and a more realistic portrayal of being outnumbered and terrified by zombies. Also a creepy atmosphere that ups the suspense – it’s the really simple things that get you, Sam naked in a bathtub when all of a sudden there’s a loud bang on the front door, you really feel Sam’s vulnerability and often times maddening indecision. Most of the time Sam is like a deer in the headlights, he’s in danger but just doesn’t know what to do.
The main problem with this movie is that it’s about 15 years too late. Had this movie come out circa 2002 it would have been up there with all the other zombie movies, it could even have caused a debate about which is the better movie, this or 28 Days Later, but it didn’t and we’re left with the movie being relegated to an ‘also ran’. There’s just too much familiarity with what we’ve seen before. Sam using buckets on the roof to collect rainwater reminds you of 28 Days Later, Sam waking up and being all alone in the world surrounded by hostile fast moving zombies reminds you of 28 Days Later, shooting zombies with a paintball gun from the rooftop reminds you of the 2004 Dawn Of The Dead, talking to the elevator zombie reminds you Bubba from Day Of The Dead, pretty much everything you see in the movie reminds you, in some way, of every other zombie related thing you’ve ever seen.
Which is a shame, because this is a well-made, enjoyable movie. If you’re a super zombie fan or can go into this knowing you’ve seen it all before but have the attitude of, fuck it, I got nothing else to watch, then this will keep you entertained for 90 minutes.
Steve Barnard lurks in the Stygian swamps of South America. He divides his time between scouring ancient jungles for the lost City of the Monkey Children and watching horror movies. Literally any horror movie he can get his hands on. Especially Japanese ones.