Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) falls asleep in his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in Paris. He wakes up to find the city infested with zombies. Alone and cooped up in the apartment building, he embraces and adapts to the new reality. He turns to foraging, stockpiling, rationing, and even relishes lockdown life. Time seems endless – days become weeks and weeks become months.
Will the defences of his fort hold up? Will his tranquil solitude last?
Reminiscent of COVID-19 lockdowns and isolations
‘The Night Eats the World’ was released in 2018. Watching it now, in a COVID-19 world, it bears close resemblance to the lockdowns and isolations that we’ve come across in 2020/2021.
Sam is confined to the apartment building. He explores the other apartments within the building and has access to the roof, but cannot risk going anywhere else. The zombies are everywhere and there’s no chance of survival.
Sam is acutely aware of the new reality and gets on with stocking up food, liquids, medicines, and all sorts of supplies. His characterisation shows that he has a flair for stocking, categorising, rationing, and replenishing.
Though mostly calm and composed, Sam has moments of self doubt and anxiety that turn into outbursts and bad decisions being made. Should he accept the situation he’s in as a conclusion or hope for the promise of a better place beyond the confines?
Character study, not a zombie movie
The horror seeps in gradually. It’s as if someone foresaw 2020 and made this movie in 2018. There are unhealed wounds that we explore through Sam’s character development and they drag the viewers into a lonely and desolate place devoid of hope.
I couldn’t stop wondering if this movie would have had the same impact if I had seen it pre-pandemic!? It’s a movie that makes you ruminate, ‘What would I have done in Sam’s situation?’.
Realistic sound design makes up for the lack of dialogues. The controlled environment and tastefully crafted set design lend to atmospheric lighting and cinematic framing. The closing credits make you wonder at and take a moment to think about the amount of work that’s gone into making this film.
Watch it, expecting ‘28 Days Later’ set in the tone of ‘Cast Away’!