The Night Eats The World (2018)

Uncaged, Undead

Writers: Jérémie Guez, Guillaume Lemans
Director: Dominique Rocher

The Night Eats the World (based on a novel by Pit Agarmen) is a low key, character based zombie movie set in Paris. For most of the film there is only one character on screen – Sam, played by Anders Danielsen Lie who does a great job of carrying the weight of being in almost every shot.

The film begins with Sam visiting his ex-girlfriend’s apartment to collect some of his things. A party is in progress, so he goes to wait for her in a party-free room. Whilst waiting, he falls asleep. When he wakes up the next morning the apartment is deserted, with smashed furniture and blood everywhere. The few remaining party goers are now zombies.

Sam is quicker on the uptake than the characters in many movies. He dispatches the few zombies nearby then secures the building and scavenges it to create a stash of food, weapons etc. It’s never stated, but Sam has clearly watched plenty of zombie movies himself.

From there on, The Night Eats the World is about how Sam copes with his post-apocalyptic life. The zombies he can handle, his main problem is isolation. As boredom and loneliness set in, he finds coping more and more difficult. Things get so bad that he ends up having ‘conversations’ with a trapped zombie (superbly played by Denis Lavant).

About half way through the film, another character joins Sam in the form of Sarah (Golshifteh Farahani ). It’s fair to say that their initial meeting does not exactly go well. However her presence galvanises Sam and sets him off in another direction.

All this is directed with low key style Dominique Rocher who creates a highly tense atmosphere and knows how to show rather than tell. Music by David Gubitsch works really well at enhancing the mood without overwhelming it.

If you’re looking for action, gore and zombie hordes then The Night Eats the World isn’t for you. It will also irritate people who like all the loose ends tied up: we never find out what caused the zombie outbreak, why Sam was unaffected or even whether it has spread further than Paris. The ending will also annoy some people, although personally I think it works on several levels.

The Night Eats the World is far from the first film to examine the crumbling psyche of a lone apocalypse survivor, but for me it’s one of the best.