I’ve watched a lot of zombie films in my time, constantly curious by the genre despite being claimed as ‘oversaturated’ by a lot of movie-goers. Fair enough I say.
As mentioned, I’ve seen a lot of zombie films, the big ones, the small ones, the foreign ones, even I can admit tropes can become tiring. Despite this, I’ll always keep watching the ‘zombie’ film and it was the main reason I was attracted to The Night Eats the World.
The ‘quiet’ zombie films tend to be the best in my opinion; the ones that strip humanity down and expose everything. These films are typically found in the indie films of the genre, rather than the overly dramatic, action filled Hollywood blockbusters where the dialogue and character decisions are as predictable as the last one. The Night Eats the World fell into the ‘quiet’ category, being selective with action moments over spontaneous and chaotic fighting with Mad Max inspired chainsaws.
It’s funny how most zombie narratives opt for the characters to have had no prior knowledge or possible notion of a zombies ever existing. It’s almost as if it’s the easiest way to justify a character’s naivety and those face-palm moments viewers may come across, throwing your hands at the screen and questioning how they could make such a decision. Saying this, nothing frustrates me more than characters who are too kick-ass or are instant professionals when wielding a weapon or not puffed out after running for blocks because I highly doubt everyone is as fit as film makes everyone out to be.
In the case of The Night Eats the World and its the main character, he seemed a bit too happy to be the last one standing after being left as the loner at the party and waking to find everyone dead or turned. He adapted to the new world with such ease I questioned his emotional stability. Perhaps it was his own version of revenge for people who did him wrong which helped him through his emotional acceptance of the new world. Such themes are never properly explored though, or motives confirmed a part from scenes such as him shooting the zombies with a paintball gun for fun and marking old Polaroid pictures of them once he hit the targets.
I appreciate the that the television series the Walking Dead makes its zombie actors go through a zombie training school before it’s decided if they’ll be on the show or not. The zombies in The Night Eats the World were cringe-worthy and amateur as if they hired people in the town they filmed it in. Although a fun opportunity for them, they just weren’t professional enough and/or had any guidance whatsoever. This little detail instantly distracted me from taking any scenes with them in seriously. Though some might say that’s an odd thing to hone in on, I think it’s an important one that helps determine the level of quality for a zombie movie, especially since it’s so easy for the zombies to instantly make a serious indie drama turn into an amateur high school short film.
The plot twist regarding the fate of the secondary character was fascinating and helped bring the film to a close, letting us know how far gone the main character was. This moment and revelation gave me hope for the film and wanted to see more. The only shame is when a film pulls you in much too late and this was certainly the case for The Night Eats the World.