Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant, a crapload of Franco-hungry zombies, the Omega Man with baguettes, and a beautifully empty and smug-free Paris.
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WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Sam (Lie), fresh from a break-up with his girlfriend Fanny, stops by her place to pick up a leftover item important to him: a box full of cassette tapes. Fanny is having a balls-out party in her Parisian apartment and Sam is equally annoyed at all the noise and having to meet the new boyfriend. So he ducks into a back room, retrieves his tapes, and promptly falls asleep.
|Snooze of the Living Dead|
When he wakes up in the morning, he finds a bloody mess and evidence that something gruesome and violent happened while he was napping. He soon realizes that he has in fact woken up in the zombie apocalypse.
|Oddly enough, they smell better than a living crowd of Frenchies.|
Sam quickly learns that he's trapped as there are zombies throughout the building and on the streets. He also realizes that the creatures are sensitive to sounds. Fortifying himself within the apartment, he adjusts to a life alone in the midst of bloody madness. To combat the loneliness, Sam befriends one of the zombies, a neighbor named Alfred (Lavant), whose reanimated corpse is stuck in the elevator.
Sam, a rock drummer and aspiring composer, passes the days listening to his music and audio recordings from his childhood which were on the vaunted cassette tapes he wanted from Fanny. Although he has a daily regimen and even holds conversations and arguments with Alfred, Sam's sanity is coming apart as the solitude and fear overwhelm him.
|Unfortunately, this is was the best turnout Sam's ever had|
Fortunately, a living person comes into Sam's life, and just in time too. Sarah (Farahani) is a lone survivor who is unfortunately shot by Sam when she breaks into his apartment. But she recovers and decides to stay with him nonetheless, and the pair grow close and begin to literally make beautiful music together.
|The She and Him of the Apocalypse|
But an unexpected twist threatens the domestic bliss and despite Sam's assurance that all is well in his home and in his head, he will have to find a way to escape before succumbing to the zombies, complete insanity, and something worse.
As we approach the post-Walking Dead era, which is beginning to emerge as the series has been suffering creatively as well as in the ratings, you’d think the production of undead fare on the big and small screens would start slowing down as well. And you’d also think that there aren’t many creative wells left to dig or innovative avenues to shamble in the zombie apocalypse. For the most part you’d be right, because you are smart person and I love you drearily. I mean it. But along comes something like Dominque Rocher’s The Night Eats the World that takes you by surprise at the imaginative juices still bubbling in the genre’s rotting carcass. Make no mistake, no new ground is broken here, in fact a lot of the film seems a little too familiar and could easily recall 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead if it was a drama, or Cast Away only with zombies. The fine-paced execution, the amiable performance of lead Anders Danielsen Lie, the light humor (Sam’s friendship with Zombie Alfred is hilarious), the different take on zombies (they can only hear you and cannot make sound which makes sense), and the non-overbearing gravitas make this zombie effort a standout. Yeah, there are some annoying things that I’m sure every zombie movie expert will nitpick over, but since the story revolves around Sam’s psychological state in this dying world you come to realize that gory action and post-apoc survival tips are not the point of the film. My personal nitpick, however, is why didn’t Sam just check the fucking internet to see what was going on? Or a TV or radio even? He still had power and water for days. For me, as an 80s kid growing up in the shadow of nuclear war, the most terrifying aspects of zombie and other apocalyptic stories is how the end of the world is played out in the media. The chilling TV broadcast in Night of the Living Dead comes to mind. Again, that’s not what the movie’s about. I will recommend The Night Eats the World for your Halloween marathon, just know that the film is not all-out gut-ripping gorefest but a quiet contemplation on alienation and despair in a world that doesn’t distinguish the living from the undead.
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