In THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD (2018), a young man ends up trapped in an apartment during the zombie apocalypse. The result is a highly gritty and realistic portrayal of survival and a meditation on loneliness and madness.
The film opens with Sam, a musician living in Paris, visiting his ex-girlfriend’s apartment to retrieve a box of music tapes he’d left with her. He finds a party in full swing, and his ex brushes him off until finally telling him where the tapes are. On the way there, a man bumps into him and bloodies his nose, and Sam passes out in a chair. He wakes up to discover a horrific zombie plague swept through Paris during the night. He now finds himself alone with limited means of survival.
The film is about him claiming the building as his fortress, clearing apartments, claiming tools and supplies, and basically surviving as city services begin to shut down. The loneliness slowly eats away at his sanity. In the end, he knows in the long term, he’ll die if he stays, but he’s terrified of leaving, resulting in a big decision.
THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD worked for me as an experience that is almost unique among zombie movies. It comes close to cinema verite as we see Sam do what he must to survive, and he reacts to everything with realistic terror. The zombies themselves are terrifically done.
The challenge for this film was to make an urban Robinson Crusoe interesting. The film accomplishes this for the most part, though it does drag in places. I believe the film would have been far more engaging and powerful if there’d been some sort of character arc, some necessary change addressing a character flaw, and a stronger external goal, such as being isolated from a survivor in a neighboring building but unable to get to that person unless he takes a very real leap. The result is a great climax and a dark denouement, but the overall effect is a bit flat.
Overall, I liked it a lot and found it something different and interesting in zombie movies.