Zombie authenticity in The Night Eats The World

Anders Danielsen Lie in The Night Eats The World.
Anders Danielsen Lie in The Night Eats The World.

IF appraising French/Norwegian production The Night Eats The World was all about zombie authenticity, we’d probably be talking Oscar territory.

There’s a grotesquery and attention to detail that’s definitely a cut and wayward slash to an arm or skull above standard zombie fare.

Somehow, the dried blood here is done to queasier effect than standard issue.

However, these don’t appear to be the terms in which director Dominique Rocher is attempting to frame his narrative.

It’s all about more or less one man’s experience, a very solitary man at that.

Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) goes to his ex-girlfriend’s place in a vast apartment space in Paris during a big party.

He’s there to pick up some belongings, including some tapes; he clearly has a musical background, with a particular interest in percussion.

After almost getting into an altercation with the new squeeze of his ex, he retreats to the room where his things are, locks the door and eventually falls asleep.

In the interim, all hell breaks loose.

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The Night Eats The World.

Almost everyone has transitioned into a horrific state of undead, if alive at all.

There’s no explanation and precious little opportunity to step foot outside the apartment building.

A large part of the 90 minutes is spent in exposition of finding his space and something like a life in this new reality; his resourcefulness and generally singular outlook on life hold in some sort of stead.

But even he has his limits when he encounters a former doctor-turned-zombie (Denis Lavant). Again, the Oscar for Zombie in a Supporting, Non-Speaking, Grunting Role is secure).

Zombies tell us everything about the zeitgeist and we fully believe in an apocalypse that might grip our world.

Zombies embody our incomprehension of what might lie on the other side of that void.

The Night Eats The World is something of a philosophical treatise about that flex point. It’s just problematic having a protagonist with a world view as solipsistic as that of Sam.

Where is he going if this night ever turns to day?

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The Night Eats The World.

THE ESSENTIALS

The Night Eats The World (MA15+)

Directed by: Dominique Rocher

Starring: Anders Danielsen Lie, Denis Lavant

In cinemas: May 9-12

Reviewed by: Martin Turner

3 stars