RAVENOUS (2017) is a Canadian horror film (Canada Netflix, I hear coming to U.S. Netflix March 2018) about a zombie-like plague that has devastated a small town in rural Quebec. Essentially, it is basic survival horror, with a disparate group of people who band together to try to survive.
While observing many traditional conventions and effectively building tension throughout, the film stands out by focusing on the emotional connections between the characters, and there’s a real cinematic flair to it, an artistry that overcomes its relatively low budget. An old man who fled his infected wife and sons tells another survivor, “It’s crazy, but the whole time I was running, I wanted to turn around and tell them I loved them.” A “perfect wife” loses her family and becomes a killing machine. A misfit and a big city woman bond over keeping a little girl safe.
There are plenty of incredibly tense moments in the film, such as a desperate running battle in the woods at night, noise traps going off by the dozen as a horde of infected draw near, and more. The infected do creepy things reminiscent of CELL, such as building bizarre constructions of household objects and staring at them in a trance.
Now to my two criticisms. First, the characters do a lot of dumb things. Noise at night? Let’s walk into the woods alone to check it out. The zombies have a way of popping out of nowhere, George Romero style, to deliver a perfect bite. These elements threaten to make it just another indie zombie movie, but the overall effort and attention to character and cinematography elevate it anyway.
So overall, I don’t see it as one of my favorites, but I enjoyed it, and it got me, so I’d recommend it, though of course YMMV. Be sure to watch a small scene after the credits. I rarely watch until after the credits but did this time because I had a feeling we’d get to see two of the characters again.