If you’re going to make a zombie movie today you really have to clamber above the pack.
The Walking Dead, Train to Busan and (arguably) Game of Thrones being among the genre’s more popular fixtures, the go-to for emerging and low-budget filmmakers has been ever-present as of late. To not be just another zombie flick one has to do something not simply different, but very different; The Night Eats The World has risen (apologies) to that challenge.
Awaking from a slumber after the most effective and efficient use of a title card in this author’s memory, Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) finds himself in an apartment complex, alone, save for the piles of itching zombies outside and one indelicately stuck in the elevator.
Transpiring amidst the complex and immediate blocks, curiously and refreshingly The Night That Eats The World is not a metaphor, as zombie flicks so often are, for greed, overpopulation, class division, environmental disasters etc. Rather, it subtly and very effectively traverses the conclusion of a meaningful relationship through, yes, metaphor and indeed the film’s biggest action beats. An advent not common to zombie thrillers, it’s a thematic plain more greatly relatable than most and provides an emotional base that helps Sam’s travails resonate much more than those of others who might find themselves surrounded by an un-dead horde.
Progressing as a procedural thriller, The Night Eats The World is intent on highlighting what one might do hour by hour then day by day following what the film industry would have us believe is an inevitable apocalypse. Interlacing but never so numerously to the point of frustration several dramatic sequences where Sam comes face to face with his aggressors, the best scenes belong to Lie as he mercilessly pounds the drum set to infuriate the masses. Extricating himself a little too conveniently and luckily on more than one occasion, it’s the only minor drawback of an otherwise consuming film.
Featuring several great cinematographic touches showcasing one ever-increasing tumult outside Sam’s bedroom window and our lone survivor circling the roof as the camera distressingly circles lengths above, if you can only take so many more zombie outings make this one of them.
The Night Eats The World screened as part of the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival