aka LES AFFAMES
(Canada/France - 2017; US release 2018)
Written and directed by Robin Aubert. Cast: Marc-Andre Grondin, Monia Chokri, Micheline Lanctot, Marie-Ginette Guay, Brigitte Poupart, Charlotte St-Martin, Edouard Tremblay-Grenier, Luc Proulx, Patrick Hivon, Didier Lucier, Robert Brouillette, Martin Heroux. (Unrated, 103 mins)
At this point, is there anything innovative that can be done with the concept of the zombie apocalypse? Sure, there's an occasional TRAIN TO BUSAN or THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS that showcase some unique ideas in its narrative but ultimately, they all end up at the same place. The Quebecois, French-language LES AFFAMES, now making its US debut as a Netflix Original film under the title THE RAVENOUS, takes the somber, arthouse approach and is more concerned with creating an appropriately bleak and very downbeat mood (other than one darkly humorous running gag that does succeed in lightening things up a little). The story follows several people who connect and eventually end up at an isolated farmhouse: Bonin (Marc-Andre Grondin) just had to kill his best friend Vezina (Didier Lucier) after he was bit, the two lifelong chums busting each others' chops to the end (Vezina: "No wonder you prefer Roger Moore over Sean Connery"); Celine (Brigitte Poupart), who periodically stops her car and cranks the radio to attract a zombie just so she can let off some steam by hacking it apart with a machete; Tania (Monia Chokri), who's freed by Bonin after he finds her tied to a bed as a precaution after she's bitten by a dog; aging insurance salesman Real (Luc Proulx), who buddies up with shotgun-toting teenager Ti-Cul (Edouard Tremblay-Grenier), bonding over the sad fact that they had to slaughter their turned families; and Zoe (Charlotte St-Martin), a little girl apparently orphaned and taken in by Bonin and Tania after they hit the road. Bonin, Tania, Zoe, and Celine all find refuge at the home of Bonin's mother Pauline (Micheline Lanctot) and her partner Therese (Marie Ginette-Guay). Once they realize the house is in the direct path of an approaching horde of zombies, they abruptly flee, eventually encountering Real and Ti-Cul as they desperately try to reach another safe area.