There is more to horror than violence and gore – that truth is never more clear then when you watch the very simple The Night Eats The World. While modern day zombie lovers have been able to see action galore with TV shows like The Walking Dead, here we find The Night Eats The World hails back to the more simplistic style of previous zombie adventures like 28 Days Later.
Directed by Dominique Rocher (first time feature director) The Night Eats The World sees what happens when the zombie apocalypse happen on the night the down-to-earth Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie – Reprise, Personal Shopper) visits his ex-girlfriend Fanny (Sigrid Bouaziz – Pour la France, Nazar Palmus) to pick up some music tapes.
Feeling out of place at the party she is throwing and clearly annoyed at the attention she is receiving from certain males he separates himself from the rest of the party only to wake up and find out that the dead have taken over Paris. Surprisingly Sam adjusts to life trapped in the apartment building and almost seems to enjoy the quietness of being alone. The big questions though are can his sanity hold up to the loneliness and how long can he hold the dead at bay.
What wins you over with The Night Eats The World is the simpleness of the film. While some directors would have wanted to keep the focus on the dead outside Rocher instead lets the suspense of the film come more the loneliness and trapped feeling that Sam experiences. After seeing the drastic measures that some of the other residents of the apartment building have taken to escape the dire situation you start to become worried about what Sam may do. That fear rises even more when Sam starts to display what most would call strange behaviour, including keeping one of the ‘dead’ alive and regularly talking to them.
While the topics of isolation and lonliness have been explored previously in films like Cast Away this film actually seems to enhance those topics by including a horror ‘creature’ that seems to be causing the plight for an individual that the audience quickly cares about. When themes like suicide and mental illness caused by loneliness and separation comes into play in The Night Eats The World you soon start to realise that this is a film that is on a whole different level than just your average zombie film.
From a filmmaking point of view The Night Eats The World is a beautifully shot film. Together with his cinematographer, Jordane Chouzenoux (Lutine, My Polish Nightmare) Rocher manages to capture some beautiful shots while also capturing the claustrophobic feel that sweeps through the apartment building when Sam finds himself all alone. Without giving anything away the closing sequence of this film is one of true beauty and one I will remember for a long time. Rocher also brings out the best in his lead actor. Anders Danielsen Lie puts in a measured performance that simply gets better as Sam’s mind begins to deteriorate. He is an actor to watch in the future and could easily break into Hollywood.
While horror fans would want the full gore and violence experience from their zombie films may be a little disappointed with The Night Eats The World but for lovers of European cinema this is a film that is certainly worth a look.