Jan 7, 2019
Hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s flashback for “Sorry to Bother You” (Episode #371). We’re back with another fresh review today, for a different kind of zombie film that split the audience. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but if you want a few films involving today’s actors, check out “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (Episode #018), “Sunday’s Illness” (Episode #171), and “22 July” (Episode #286). And if you have any suggestions, head over to onemoviepunch.com to drop us a suggestion, or reach out over social media.
Today’s movie is “The Night Eats The World” (2018), the French zombie drama directed by Dominique Rocher and written for the screen in collaboration with Guillaume Lemans and Jérémie Guez, based on the novel by Pit Agarmen. The film follows Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie), who stops by a raging party in Paris to pick up some cassette tapes he left behind. After falling asleep in a back room, he wakes to find Paris overrun with silent zombies, and does his best to survive in the apartment.
I’m a huge fan of zombie movies, which you can check out in my reviews for “Ravenous” (Episode #066), “Cargo” (Episode #139), “Day of the Dead: Bloodline” (Episode #140), “White Zombie” (Episode #152), and “Overlord” (Episode #316). Each one of those reviews contain some of my thoughts about the use and abuse of zombies as a plot device, both overall I think it provides a neat lens through which to examine society. It has also come to represent a genre all to itself, because now we see many fusions with other genres, like zombie comedies, zombie dramedies, zombie action, zombie horror, zombie musical, and even zombie romance. All those just in the past year. I would also say one of the best pieces of evidence is “The Night Eats The World”, essentially an art-house zombie film, and I think we’re all the better for its creation.
Dominique Rocher rides the line between stark zombie realism and a more introspective look into being alone during the zombie apocalypse. We might be tantalized by the idea of a single hero bravely taking out an entire city of the walking dead, but when the shuffling zombies are replaced with the swifter zoombies in Rocher’s world, isolation becomes a means of survival, both short-term and long-term. Sam’s story arc follows the general outbreak pattern, first finding physical security, then working on resource security, then attempting to keep sane in the days that follow. Rocher utilizes the general audience’s knowledge of zombies to do some clever foreshadowing, but sometimes lingers too much on the more mundane aspects of zombie survival. As an aforementioned zombie fan, I didn’t have too many facepalm moments, which I normally chalk up to a world that never heard of zombies before. All the zombies are well done, especially the performance by the great Denis Lavant as a trapped zombie, who acts as a sounding board sometimes for Sam, and I really appreciated the scene composition for quite a few of the zombie-laden scenes.
It’s the second part of the film that really delves into an art-house vibe. Sam is a percussionist, and once everything is situated, he begins reviewing his tapes and adding new layers with improvised and found instruments. It becomes part of the score and soundtrack, and also a measure of his ability to cope with the situation at any given time. In fact, I would argue that Sam’s plight is actually a metaphor for depression, everything from not wanting to be at the initial social gathering, to struggling with the day-to-day after great life changes, to finding safety and survival in staying indoors, away from other people. Sam is the epitome of the introverted musician, whose very craft, which he wants to share, also draws the very thing that will hurt him the most. The character is well played by Anders Danielsen Lie, demonstrating a surprising range as the film evolves, and helping to overcome some of the slower portions.
“The Night Eats The World” (2018) is an art-house zombie film, perhaps not the first of its kind, but definitely its own distinct addition to the exploding list of zombie movies. Dominique Rocher captures the great performance by Anders Danielsen Lie, bringing a few new ideas to an oft-copied genre. Zombie fans, or fans of introspective film-making, should definitely check out this film, but beware, it is still a zombie movie, and does have its gruesome moments.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
One Movie Punch: 7.8/10
“The Night Eats The World” (2018) is rated TV-14 and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Hoopla.