The Night Eats the World, Directed by Dominique Rocher, France
Overview: The morning after a party, a young man (Anders Danielsen Lie, PERSONAL SHOPPER) wakes up to find Paris invaded by zombies.
Alternate title: La nuit a dévoré le monde
Director: Dominique Rocher
Writers: Pit Agarmen (novel), Jeremie Guez (screenplay), Guillaume Lemans (screenplay)
Starring: Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant
Review: The Night Eats the World
I know what you’re thinking: the zombie subgenre has run its course, it has all been done, and all we have left are low-budget derivatives and witty satires. And you would be right. But somehow, THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD (affiliate link) proves to be the exception to the rule. Half WALKING DEAD and half 28 DAYS LATER (affiliate link), it never truly rips off either of them. (There is even a paintball scene reminiscent of DAWN OF THE DEAD, (affiliate link) but not enough to be a clear theft.) And the gore effects, makeup, and “zombie choreography” are all top-notch. Within the first ten minutes we are treated to a realistic murder-suicide, so if blood and guts isn’t your thing, this will not be for you.
The strength of the film is that it never really focuses on the zombies, but rather on our protagonist’s descent into madness and his attempts to fight this inevitable insanity. This is a very human story about loss and loneliness, as well as ingenuity. For the viewer’s sake, it helps that our hero has an incredible knack for turning household objects into musical instruments. He manages to find a symphony in despair.
Special mention must be made of Denis Lavant, who plays the zombie Alfred. While I have not seen HOLY MOTORS (2012) (affiliate link), for which he received numerous nominations and a few wins from festivals around the world, his highly physical performance in THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD (affiliate link) is admirable. I can’t recall a zombie since DAY OF THE DEAD’s (affiliate link) “Bub” that seemed so human. All in all, a fresh film from a rotting subgenre.