You’ll probably enjoy the French zombie film The Night Eats the World if post-apocalyptic sci-fi like 28 Days Later and The Omega Man are your moviegoing answer to comfort food. Like those earlier films, this paranoid fantasy gives filmgoers the vicarious thrill of watching a resourceful loner — in this case, American tourist Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) — wait out the zombie apocalypse inside his Parisian ex-girlfriend’s apartment.
Unfortunately, the best and worst thing about director Dominique Rocher and his two co-writers’ scenario is its familiarity. Sam does everything that everyone, from Vincent Price to Will Smith, has already done to keep sane during an I Am Legend–style crisis. That includes sniping at passing zombies (using a paintball gun) and pathetically declaiming about his fate: “Dead is the new norm now; I’m the one who’s not normal.”
Still, if you don’t get too hung up on the film’s many contrivances — particularly its uninspired finale and any scene where Lie speaks — you might find The Night Eats the World to be sufficiently moody. That goes double whenever the film’s atmosphere is mostly supplied by ambient noises, like the wet clicking of zombies’ teeth inside their rotting mouths or the soft thumping of their distended arms as they smash against barred windows.
There are also a handful of tense zombie encounters, the best of which is the alternately hilarious and terrifying scene where Sam tries to lure an easily distracted cat into his apartment. If nothing else, Rocher’s film successfully reaffirms two generic constants: Zombies are terrifying and cats are really, really clueless.
The Night Eats the World
Directed by Dominique Rocher
Blue Fox Entertainment
Opens July 13, Cinema Village
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 11, 2018