As a subgenre that is more than oversaturated, stories of walking corpses and flesh munching undead require serious skill if they are to transcend the cliches we've been beaten over the head with for the past decade. George A. Romero's resurrected ghouls invented what we consider to be the modern zombie in Night of the Living Dead (and later perfected in Dawn of the Dead), and Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later delivered an adrenaline rush with sprinting rage-infested zombie-like creatures, completely changing the game. Dominique Rocher's La Nuit a Devore le Monde (aka: The Night Eats the World) is a fresh installment in a plateauing monster genre. It begins a week-long run at Tower City Cinemas on Friday.
The Night Eats the World is the story of Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie), a man who falls asleep in his ex-girlfriend's office after returning to retrieve some of his forgotten property. When he awakes, the room is in absolute shambles and covered in blood. It is soon revealed that all of Paris has been overrun by zombies, so he boards up the apartment hoping to just wait it out. We follow Sam over the course of weeks, watching as his mental state declines and he turns himself into a risk just as great as the living dead creeping outside.
For audiences conditioned to watch shoot-'em-down, ultra-violent zombie interactions like The Walking Dead, this is not going to be a film that will be appreciated. However, for those more interested in the mundane and psychologically terrifying demise of the human condition during a zombie apocalypse as in The Battery, this film will be right up your alley.
Almost the entire film is centered on this one guy and his struggle to survive in a world that's been destroyed, and at times, it's a pretty bleak examination of humanity. This is less of a zombie film and more of a moody thriller that happens to have zombies.
And what of the zombies? The Night Eats the World borrows from its predecessors in terms of its creature design, stealing the fast and violent pace of 28 Days Later and [REC], but it injects originality in that the zombies are not the shrieking and groaning creatures of yesteryear. With the exception of their corpses cracking in an ominous and horrific sound, the zombies are silent ... and it's pretty damn effective. It's a really unique turn, and solidifies The Night Eats the World's place in the zombie canon.
Ultimately, this is a film meant for fans of unconventional horror films that refuse to be tied down by formulaic or "purist" standards when it comes to the mythos of creatures that don't exist. Lie delivers a captivating performance that feels like a more inspired and complex version of I Am Legend, but with special effects sure to please even the most hardcore gorehounds.