You know those people who can sleep through anything? I am absolutely not one of them but my boyfriend is and it’s ridiculous. I often joke about how he could sleep through the apocalypse. In THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD (LA NUIT A DÉVORÉ LE MONDE), Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie; Oslo, August 31st, Personal Shopper, Herman) almost does. After getting his nose accidentally broken at a party at his ex-girlfriend’s house, which he’s only there to pick up some of his old stuff, he passes out in the back office and wakes up to everyone at the party either being dead or…a zombie.
I’m not going to lie when I say that I think the zombie market is more than a little saturated, to say the least, but it took me about 12 minutes to decide that this film was worth watching despite that. Based on the novel La Nuit a Dévoré Le Monde (also the films original title) by Pit Agarmen, this is one of the most interesting interpretations of the zombie apocalypse I have seen in ages.
Set in Paris, we witness how Sam survives in a world, where, to his knowledge, he is the only surviving human being for miles and miles. He turns the apartment building he’s stuck into his own personal bunker. His resourcefulness is enviable and almost unparalleled in similar films, where there is almost always a ragtag team of misfits facing an unspeakable terror. Sam escapes several near-death experiences, once just so he could try to rescue a cat from outside, to have some companionship.
HIs only actual companion throughout most of this months-long (maybe? We’re never really told how long) shut-in is an elderly zombie locked in an elevator named Alfred, played by the inimitable Denis Lavant (Lovers On The Bridge, Mister Lonely, The Temptation of St. Tony). In one conversation in particular while Sam is smoking a cigar and drinking whiskey he says to Alfred, drooling and grasping at the air in desperation “Dead is the new norm now. I’m the one who’s not normal.”
The production design in this film is incredible. Sam must use household objects to entertain himself, collect rainwater, make fires, and – naturally – hit zombies with paintballs. Everything that Sam does is 100% believable in a situation such as the Zombie Apocalypse, which is sometimes quite difficult for filmmakers to accomplish. Dominique Rocher (Haiku, La Vitesse Du Passe) knocks it out of the park in this adaptation. George Romero is smiling down on him from Horror Heaven, saying “Good Job!”
THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD had its Canadian Premiere on July 13th at the Fantasia International Film Festival and is now available to watch on VOD and select US theaters. This is a film you will not be disappointed by as it is a surprisingly unique take on the undead; almost like a silent movie directed by Jacques Tati that somehow gets splashed into the world of the undead. I can’t say it enough, you must, must, must see this film!!!