Day 23: ‘France’
The Night Eats The World (2018)
The zombie film is one that has been done a lot, some films just copy/paste what has been done before while others do their own thing and make changes that keep the genre fresh. For Day 23 the prompt is France and as someone who really enjoys and is constantly impressed by French horror cinema it was very exciting to dive into a French zombie film with The Night Eats The World (2018). A film made pre-pandemic that hits very close to home after living with a pandemic since early 2020 and the themes really hit hard especially after experiencing months and months of lockdowns. This is a film that uses the zombie outbreak to focus on one character and the study of the affects of long term isolation, something many of us have become quite familiar with.
Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) is a musician who attends a party in France to see his former partner and collect his tapes, she brushes him off more than once and tired of it he locks himself in a room and tries to find his tapes. He falls asleep in the room and wakes up the next day to see the apartment trashed and covered in blood, as he tries to leave he sees the zombie of his former partner and knows exactly whats happening. Stuck within the building as the threat of zombies is pretty much everywhere he scours the building for supplies to survive, but soon that isn’t enough as he has no other contact and struggles to find ways to stay occupied. The longer he’s alone the more dire the situation becomes and the zombies aren’t going anywhere.
The Night Eats The World is held together by the incredible performance of Anders Danielsen Lie, Sam is who the audience are with through the entire film and it is his journey we are taken on. We feel what he feels as he tries to navigate this zombie apocalypse with no sign of anyone else actually alive, the isolation and boredom of the situation is all too relatable and handled in such a way that the film honestly feels like it was made in 2021 during the pandemic not before. The zombies aren’t the central focus and it’s the right decision, this is about Sam and his survival against the outside world and himself. This is one of those films that sort of copy/pastes what’s come before, think the alone scenario for the beginning of 28 Days Later (2002) but continues on a journey that really feels fresh for the genre. This film comes highly recommended from me, even if you aren’t the biggest horror fan, this is a ride worth taking.
Day 24: ‘Slither’
The Lair Of The White Worm
31 Days Of Horror sees the line up get another Ken Russell film with Day 24’s prompt of ‘slither’ and The Lair Of The White Worm (1988), showcasing early career roles from Hugh Grant and Peter Capaldi and an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel of the same name (taking inspiration from the legend of the Lambton Worm). Much like other Russell films this has an aura of surrealism and nightmarish visuals, but then this film just goes utterly insane and it’s all the better for it because some how this crazy mess of a film is quite enjoyable.
An archaeologist Angus Flint (Capaldi) uncovers a strange snake like skull at the Derbyshire bed and breakfast, which is run by sisters Mary (Sammi Davis) and Eve Trent (Catherine Oxenberg). He begins to believe the skull has a connection to a legend from the local land of the d’Ampton Worm, the creature was said to have been killed by John d’Ampton, who happened to be the ancestor of the Lord of the Manner James d’Ampton (Grant). Things start to get a little crazier when Lady Sylvia (Amanda Donohoe) who lives nearby at the Temple House makes her presence known and makes sure she gets the strange skull. The film is not the easiest to describe and the plot is almost secondary to the madness on display, it is apparent that Russell really wanted to make his version of Stoker’s Dracula but had to go with this book to adapt and it does have a lot in common with the tales of Dracula, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
The Lair Of The White Worm has Amanda Donohoe as Lady Sylvia stealing the show with her over the top and enigmatic performance, the rest of the cast do a solid job but they don’t quite reach her heights. There are silly and over the top moments that are laugh out loud funny such as the scene with Capaldi playing the bagpipes for … reasons (no spoilers) and the effects whilst dated some how work and just add to the insanity. This is not a film for everyone, Ken Russell’s films are generally quite divisive, this just has a strange charm to it and while at the end of the day it technically may not be a great film there is enjoyment to be had.
Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea