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The Night Eats the World: Movie Review

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

the-night-eats-the-world-movie-review

Imagine having just ended a long-term relationship. Imagine being a musician and having to go to your ex-girlfriend's apartment to pick up a box of very important tapes for your professional future. Imagine arriving at the building and finding yourself in the middle of a big party hosted by her. Your ex-girlfriend welcomes you and although she says she wants to talk to you in private, her actions say otherwise. She doesn't stop talking to other guests and postponing the conversation.

Imagine that her new douchy boyfriend keeps kissing and touching her and having a hostile attitude towards you. You just want to pick up your things and get the fuck out of there. When your ex-girlfriend finally tells you where to look for your stuff, one of her drunken friends accidentally hits you hard on the nose, making you bleed. You lock yourself in the library where your things are, but while you attend your bleeding, you end up resting for a while on the couch.

Imagine waking up hours later, because it's already dawn. You realize that you shouldn't be there, so you take your box and leave the room. Finally, it's time to start a new stage of your life.

Imagine then finding that apartment completely destroyed and full of blood splatters. You don't understand anything. When you open the door of the apartment to leave, two women, including your ex-girlfriend, throw themselves wildly to you, trying to tear your with their teeth. They have milky eyes and destroyed skin, and their mouths are full of blood.

the-night-eats-the-world-movie-review

Something out there has turned all people into irrational, cannibal creatures. The streets are infested with these monsters. And the only place where you'll be protected is the last place in the world where you want to be right now.

But the world has now changed. The future you wanted to rebuild no longer exists and your immediate concerns no longer make sense. It's time to immediately modify your priorities and looking for ways to survive.

The Night Eats The World brilliantly portrays that mental rewiring through its protagonist Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie). Set in Paris, this is a zombie film that, while being intimate and modest, don't skimp on showing the bloody cruelty of this new world order with good special effects.

the-night-eats-the-world-movie-review

The story is certainly nothing new within the genre. It's the eternal question of what to do once you have survived the initial wave of a zombie outbreak. Is it the motto "moving is life" the answer? Or is it better to stay put and build an inviolable little fortress so you can try and reactivate the routines and customs that make us feel human?

Sam is forced to try the second option. And it's impossible not to empathize with him because his reaction is quite genuine and human. Most likely, we would all do the same thing.

You won't find here chainsaws, armored vehicles, or heroic fearless attitudes. We're talking about a shy French musician in his thirties, who until a matter of hours ago had his heart destroyed by a failed relationship.

Sam's scheme works at first. He looks for survivors. Then, he loots and clears each apartment. He gets to the safest place in the building and makes that place his new home. For a while, he has enough food, water, and even some distractions according to his vocation. Even though he has access to a drum kit and other instruments, Sam spends much of his idle time building elaborate musical mechanisms with common items such as bottles and plates. The creative exercise basically manages to postpone his madness and suicide impulses.

But slowly and progressively, his sanity will deteriorate at an understandable and genuine rate. He can't make much noise in his music sessions, because hundreds of zombies accumulate at the entrance of the building. The water and electricity supply, predictably, are cut short. Now he depends on batteries, fire, gas, and rainfall to meet his basic needs. In short, survival is exponentially harder every day.

But it's the loneliness what's hurting Sam. He starts doing odd things, like creating a "friendship" with an old zombie that is trapped inside one of those old elevators with fences. It doesn't help much to his sanity that the zombie, dubbed "Alfred", has a less hostile attitude and is also played by the great and expressive Denis Lavant (Holy Motors, Beau Travail).

One of the most interesting creative decisions of this movie is to have made the zombies silent. It makes all the sense that beyond some sounds when they are struggling or actually eating, these creatures don't growl like orcs. It's a small intelligent detail that humanizes them and makes their presence way more threatening and unnerving.

But the greatest merit of The Night Eats The World is that any of its 94 minutes feel heavy, repetitive or boring. The audience connection with Sam is immediate and his decisions are, the vast majority of times, accurate and understandable.

This is a film about how to survive a zombie apocalypse, focusing on the primordial element to achieve it: our mental sanity.

the-night-eats-the-world-movie-review

The Night Eats The World: Movie Details

Title: The Night Eats The World

Release Year: 2018

Director(s): Dominique Rocher

Writer(s): Pit Agarmen, Jérémie Guez

Actors: Anders Danielsen Lie, Denis Lavant, Golshifteh Farahani a.o.

© 2021 Sam Shepards

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