Zombie films. We’ve all seen them. Some deal with rabid and rapid (catchy, huh?) ones while others deal with the slower, sluggish living dead. Most of these movies deal with survivors of the apocalypse and how they struggle to stay alive and obtain salvation. However, not many of them deal with the difficulties of being alone and bored, secluded safely inside a building, while death fills the air outside. This is the situation at hand in “La nuit a dévoré le monde” (The Night Eats the World), which made its Canadian premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) is trying to recuperate some of his things from his ex-girlfriend. As he goes to meet her at her place (or maybe also his former place?), she is in the midst of a house party. Even though he’s not feeling up to it, he stays for a drink or two. When he’s finally had enough, Sam decides to go upstairs to grab a box of his belongings. Once in that room, he feels drowsy and decides to lock the door to get some peace and quiet to rest. Little does he know that this nap, in isolation, would save his life. Outside, overnight, the world has been flipped upside down. The living dead have taken over, ripping through every human in sight, and leaving Sam seemingly alone. His only confidant in this remote environment is a flesheater trapped in the apartment elevator which he re-baptised ‘Alfred.’ Is it better to be single in a world of living or alone in the world of the dead?
“The Night Eats the World” is a decent approach to an aspect of the zombie apocalypse that is not often visited, but does not reinvent the wheel, either. Think of it as a very watered down version of “28 Days Later”. Aside from the house party at the very beginning of the film, the next 30ish minutes are almost silent, grinding into our minds how solitary, secluded, and bored Sam truly is. The only problem is, after 15 minutes of that silence, the audience gets bored as well. Some scenes stretch out for far too long and damage the pace of the movie.
We do become mildly entertained as Sam finds ways to cope with his boredom. He discusses… er, monologues, with Alfred, who grows on us, like a caged animal who just wants a bit of freedom (and flesh?). When he wakes up one day and sees that the living dead have seemingly fled the scene, he proceeds to play the drums exceedingly loud, as if he’d rather be surrounded by the undead than to literally be alone. Then again, the fact that the zombies are absolutely voiceless (no growling, hissing, or grunting) doesn’t help the fact that the only voice Sam can hear is his own. He even risks his own life in attempts to capture a cat with the hopes of obtaining a new best friend.
The make-up on the zombies is more-than-decent and deserves praise. Despite uttering no sounds from their mouths, the undead are portrayed admirably through intense facial expressions and total bewilderment in their eyes. Anders Danielsen Lie is a solid actor, depicting a reserved, timid man, who suddenly transforms into a social-seeking individual once there are no other individuals. The true antagonist in “The Night Eats the World,” however, is not the undead. The main villain being fought in this motion picture is most definitely loneliness and boredom. Why else would he retrieve zombies around his apartment when it may have been his only chance to escape during their desertion?
“La nuit a dévoré le monde” is more of a drama involving zombies than a horror movie, and I believe it was meant to be like that. Recently single, Sam can’t escape his new world of being alone where he is never more on his own than a surviving human in a zombie apocalypse; that is the true metaphor of this tale. Director Dominique Rocher’s film obtains 3 stars out of 5.