Alright, beasties. It’s that spooky time of year again. For this edition of Spooktober, I’m going to do a post a day but, like a great haul after trick or treating, I’m hoping to mix it up and deliver some surprises. There’ll be reviews, new or old, seen/unseen, TV or film. Depending on my wicked mood, there may also be lists, audio, or video. I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember: stay spooky.
Somehow, we are already on Day 27! I’ve been trying to be as different with my choices as possible because if there’s one truth to horror, it’s that the stories and potential for imagination are near, limitless.
The subgenre of zombie films is a commonly revisited one, and the ones that stand out are usually saying something new. The Night Eats the World (wonderful title) concentrates less on the gore when considering elements of surviving a zombie apocalypse, and instead leans into one man’s journey through the isolation and the danger that lurks outside.
The film starts with musician Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) visiting his ex while she’s having a party in hopes to get some of his things back. When he passes out in one of the rooms he wakes up to find the place empty with blood everywhere. When he makes it outside he realizes that overnight a zombie apocalypse has occurred forcing him to survive on his own. Dominique Rocher creates a movie that focuses on both the unimaginable horror of an event like this, with the imaginable fear of being alone.
A minimalist approach to storytelling when it comes to flesh-eating monsters, Sam is mostly the only character on the screen once things happen. He finds ways to pass the time and keep his sanity, but his loneliness is abundant. A trapped zombie named Alfred (Denis Lavant) provides him some “company” but for the most part, we see the film take its time and we get to know Sam.
In some ways, it may sound like it would be a slog, and perhaps for action junkies it could, but it’s genuinely compelling. I found myself intrigued watching him be methodical about collecting survival gear or building musical instruments out of random items. That’s not to say there aren’t at least a few encounters with some bloody chompers, but the horror of the film instead is wrapped around a convincing character study and his internal and external struggles.
The Night Ate the World is unhurried, thought-provoking, and features an absorbing performance from Anders Danielsen Lie to make something new out of an aged premise.
The Night Ate the World is currently streaming on AMC+