Zombie movies have become the superhero movies of modern age where not a lot of people think there can be much original material to mined from it anymore. This year has proven those skeptics wrong with the haunting “Cargo,” and the incredibly complex “The Night Eats The World.” A healthy mix of “I Am Legend,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and “Castaway,” it’s ten minutes too long, but manages to come out in the end as a scary zombie movie with insight about the horrifying world that can linger outside of our doors.
After being forced to a crowded party to meet his ex-girlfriend about some tapes she took with her when she left him, Sam closes himself off from the crowds and falls asleep in an isolated coat room. While he sleeps in a corner, the party is raided by a horde of zombies. Miraculously undiscovered, Sam awakens to the chaos of the apartment, now in ruins. Now stuck in an entire building all alone, Sam is far too scared to step outside, and decides to survive with the resources at his disposal. Whether or not he’s waiting for help or until the food runs out becomes a question without an answer. Especially as he grows stir crazy and restless.
Once it becomes clear that Sam can’t simply walk out the door with sprinting zombies lurking at all corners, he has to rely on quick thinking and secure the flat for himself. A lot of the anxiety comes from excellent use of sound and light by director Dominique Rocher. We’re never quite sure what’s lurking around the corner, and you’ll definitely be on edge as Sam lurks in the darkness, preparing for something or someone to dash out at him with tearing claws and teeth. There’s surprisingly a lot of material to be mined from a movie with only one cast member, as we explore Sam’s struggles to keep busy, the odd rituals he conducts, and the prospect that either someone is lurking in the flat with him, or he might be losing touch with his own senses.
The screenwriters delve in to Sam’s evolving psychoses as well, invoking some haunting nightmares, and even bring him to the brink of loneliness as he befriends a zombie stuck in a lift, and puts his life on the line to lure a stray cat he spots on the street. That said “The Night Eats the World” begins to drag its feet after the hour mark, building a new sub-plot that pretty much goes nowhere. All in all the movie could have stood for a ten minute trim, with a climax enforcing more clarity and certainty. I’m a sucker for apocalyptic cinema, though, and “The Night Eats the World” succeeds as a drama and a horror movie with something unique to say about the human condition.