Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant, Anders Danielsen Lie, and Mehdi Taleghani in La nuit a dévoré le monde (2018)


(director/writer: Dominique Rocher; screenwriters: novel by Pit Agarmen, Guillaume Lemans, Jeremie Guez; cinematographer: Jordane Chouzenoux; editor: Isabelle Manquillet; music: David Gubitsch; cast: Anders Danielsen Lie (Sam), Golshifteh Farahani (Sarah), Denis Lavant (Alfred), Sigrid Bouaziz (Fanny), David Kammenos (Mathieu); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Carole Scotta; Blue Fox Entertainment; 2018-France-in French and dubbed in English)

A refreshing ‘Paris is for zombies’ old school survival film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A refreshing ‘Paris is for zombies’ old school survival film. It pits one man against the world, hopelessly holed up in a barricaded apartment building in Paris where everyone has either died or been infected with a disease that makes them undead and violent. French director Dominique Rocher (“Pile Ou Face”) co-writes with Guillaume Lemans and Jeremie Guez an adaptation of the novel La Nuit a dévoré le monde by Pit Agarmen. The minimalist art house thoughtful zombie movie is set almost entirely inside a Paris apartment building and has enough going for it to be entertaining. It creates tension for the only survivor as he tries to find a way out of this impossible mess realizing that there is little possibility of being rescued. Talking about some heavy sh-t, the American tourist musician Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) wanting his music tapes back after splitting from his French girlfriend Fanny (Sigrid Bouaziz), goes to his former apartment in Paris to retrieve them and finds a party is going on. Jealous when seeing Fanny in the arms of her new boyfriend, he nevertheless accepts her invitation to stay. After collapsing from drinking too much he awakens to take back his tapes and split, but discovers the city has been taken over by a zombie apocalypse and the streets are unsafe. Thinking he might be the sole survivor he secures the building, cleans up the blood and finds ways to deal with his loneliness so he doesn’t go bonkers. At the halfway mark, Sarah (Golshifteh Farahani), surprisingly shows up by breaking into the barricaded building, and he has another survivor to keep him company. When Farahani makes her appearance, the horror pic gets increasingly better because she energizes the film. It delightfully plays out as an intriguing tale of Sam at first trying to keep sane without any company by keeping busy (like banging on his drums even if that stirs up the zombies in the street). Then Sam must relate to Sarah. The only other encounter he has is with a zombie named Alfred (Denis Lavent) trapped in the elevator with him, who is rendered harmless because he is physically and mentally deteriorating. In a semi-comical role, he becomes Sam’s only friend. If you can look past the uninspiring finale there’s much to like about this familiar zombie story in the way it handles its character story in an intelligent way and tries to tell us that perhaps it’s more frightening living with ourselves than living with zombies (who might actually be us). It also has an appropriately spooky score by David Gubitsch. It’s like “28 Days Later,” but without the action.