FILM: THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD
Written by Annie junor
Whilst the Walking Dead has brought forth an onslaught of television and film exploring what might happen in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by zombies, rarely do we see a piece explore the loneliness of being the only one left after the carnage.
The Night Eats the World (2018) considers the fate of Sam, a freshly broken-up-with musician, who passes out after going to a party at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in an attempt to recover the cassette tapes of his that he left in her possession. After returning home with a bloody nose, he passes out and awakes the next day to find a zombie apocalypse has taken a sudden hold over Paris.
It’s like a less hopeful and French I Am Legend (2007), without the dog. Also, Sam is the name of the protagonist, not the German Sheppard.
This is a film made for an audience that knows and understands what zombies are. For once, our protagonist Sam knows exactly what he’s doing, and he appears to be familiar with the idea of a zombie. There’s no radio message or TV bulletin for the audience to understand what happened, whether it be a deadly virus or some mystic cause. The audience is thrown feet-first into following Sam’s survival, which is less so a task of fending off zombies, and more about managing the loneliness of being a survivor.
Much of Sam’s story is a gloomy focus on his search for supplies: he collects guns and batteries, rations out his food and catches water on the apartment roof. He tries to maintain some semblance of reality, running around his apartment for exercise, playing the drums and composing music. He barely speaks apart from calling out to check for zombies and survivors, and his silence only emphasises his solitude.
After the apocalypse, it’s the human that isn’t normal. The loneliness conveyed by this character is so intense that he seeks out the undead for company, trying to befriend a zombified Alfred, an old man who used to live in the building. This film really speaks to the isolation that results from living in solitude - not from being surrounded by flesh-hungry monsters, but from being left alone with your own thoughts.
The Night Eats the World doesn’t take us to places unventured by tales of zombies. It does, however, expose the parts we don’t get to see in the Walking Dead: the toll of mental survival in a post-apocalyptic world without all the thrills and jumpscares we’ve come to expect from the horror genre.
Catch The Night Eats the World at the Alliance Française French Film Festival between the 6 th of March and the 10th of April. For more information on the festival and session times check out click here