Can you bloody believe it? Not just a good modern zombie flick but possibly one of the best for a very long time. The Night Eats the World is an emotionally captivating and often terrifying movie based off French novelist Pit Agarmen’s La Nuit a Dévoré le Monde.
Directed by Dominique Rocher and starring Anders Danielsen Lie, it tells the story of one man’s isolation in a Parisian apartment block during a zombie outbreak.
The movie opens with Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) showing up at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment to collect some of his belongings. The split was not mutual and his timing is terrible as his ex and her new boyfriend are throwing a party. He’d have been better off coming back another day but wanting to get his stuff and never see her again he retreats to an empty room, locks the door then falls asleep in a chair.
Listen out…just as his eyes are shutting you can just make out what sounds like screaming.
The next morning Sam awakes to silence. Disorientated he goes outside the room to find the rest of the apartment trashed with blood splattering the walls. His reaction here is golden, he doesn’t start calling out names or anything, instead grabs the nearest heavy blunt object.
What he finds outside forces him back indoors where from the balcony he watches fast moving, 20 Days Later style zombies attack other survivors. This scene is a pretty harrowing experience for both Sam and us.
Realising he has to keep the zombies out he barricades himself in making the building safe from the monsters outside.
Sam makes the apartment block his own personal home, raiding other flats for supplies all while trying to find ways to keep himself amused. However, as the months pass, loneliness and boredom begin to wear him down. No-one comes to save him making him believe he is the last man alive in Paris, maybe even the world.
His desperation for company gets so bad that he risks his life by going outside to try and save a cat before befriending an elderly zombie trapped in the elevator shaft. It’s endearing and heart-breaking as we see his mental state slowly break down. The walking dead outside aren’t going away and while they don’t bother him unless they see or hear him, their threat is still very much real.
You’re going to hear a people use one word to describe this movie and that is ‘boring’. Boring because not a lot happens. I disagree, massively disagree. The Night Eats the World is a journey, a journey we share with Sam. In all our heads we imagine the situation that he is in as being some sort of wonderous ‘do what you want with no consequences’ life. The world is your oyster yet we as humans need each other, we need contact. How that plays out, how Sam tries to stave off the boredom is relatable.
Anders Danielsen Lie is phenomenal, a character we know little about but learn so much as the film goes on. His past doesn’t matter, the world has ended, who he was doesn’t matter but who he is now, does. His emotions come through as genuine and are enhanced by the fantastic music.
This is a horror movie that you can connect to in ways not often associated with the genre. The zombies are not at the forefront of the movie but that’s not to say the film lacks in the horror department. Dripping in blood and menace, there is no question that should a pack of these monsters be on your tail, you may as well be already dead.
Like Sam, as the movie goes on you kind of forget they are there until they suddenly are. Snarling, biting and filled with furious hunger.
There is a hopelessness to The Night Eats the World which could make it a difficult watch for those who prefer the lighter side of horror. At no point do you ever really think Sam is going to find help or make it out of the apartment and to spoil the finale here would be a dis-service. I’ll simply say, for me, it was incredibly satisfying.
By the end we’re none the wiser about just what happened. Just how the zombie apocalypse happened but this is a film where it doesn’t matter. This is Sam’s story and what an incredible one it is.
Watch this film.
The Night Eats the World