First up in my Fantasia Int’l Film Festival 2018 review series is The Night Eats the World (aka: La Nuit a Devore le Monde). It’s a French language zombie film set in France. Paris or a near-Paris suburb maybe. At least I think it is. It’s mostly set in a single apartment building. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Sam is a musician who just wants his damn cassette tapes back. He needs them for his high-concept, low-tech, weird instruments music. When he shows up at his ex’s place to reclaim them, he learns that she is having a massive party that spills into the hall and down the stairs of her building. She told him it was a good time to come over, but it’s obviously not and she’s using the situation to make him squirm by continually putting him off and telling him she’ll be right back to show him where his tapes are. After squirming for a long time he falls asleep in a back room. When he wakes he finds the world has turned into a bloody zombie hellscape. He barricades himself in the apartment hoping to survive the apparent apocalypse. Will it work? Is there chance for the presumed last man on Earth? You’ll have to watch to find out.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of many French horror films. So, I’m always excited when I come across a new one. Per usual, I was excited to check this French film out as well. When I realized that it was a zombie film, though, I lost a little bit of that excitement. Don’t get me wrong, there are many great zombie films out there. Many. But nowadays the zombie media market is supersaturated. Odds are, a new zombie film will be more likely to bore than to entertain. So, how does The Night Eats the World fare? Well, it has a unique emotional center in it’s protagonist, Sam. He spends most of the film alone. We see him drift from room to room, apartment to apartment, activity to activity over the course of days, weeks, months(?). His utter loneliness and despair are written across his face and the weight of his circumstances is measured in the increasingly empty real estate of his pantry shelves. It certainly adds a little more drama to the now tired subgenre. And that’s a good thing. It works perfectly for this small budget film. We experience the crushing isolation of a man who has lost everyone. It’s horrific in a way rarely seen in horror. But that doesn’t mean it scrimps on the blood. Not at all. The blood-smeared walls that greet Sam when he emerges from sleep are terrifying. And that’s just the tip of the blood-and-gore iceberg. (a small iceberg) There are plenty of brains and shredded limbs to keep the character-centered story moving in a compelling (and gruesome) direction.
The Final Cut: The Night Eats the World is an engaging character study that expertly portrays the internal and external horrors of being isolated by a zombie apocalypse. It easily stands out among the chaff of current zombie fare.