Recently added to Netflix is French-Canadian Zombie film Ravenous (Les affamés, original title), after it’s debut on the film festival circuit. Have a look at Jim’s thoughts on it from last year.
Taking place in rural Quebec, Ravenous begins shortly after the initial zombie infestation. Zombies have exhausted their human prey in the cities and are returning to rural areas, on the hunt.
Mild spoilers ahead.
Ravenous’ zombies seem to be open to interpretation as a mash-up of a few things we’ve seen before and a bit that we haven’t. Their primary goal seems to be the spread of their infection. To do so they display intelligence and even cooperation with one another. They don’t appear to be undead, moving swiftly rather than any decayed shambling. Different roles seem to apply to different infected individuals. Some are hunters, some are bait, and some seem to keep watch. Somewhere between I Am Legend (2007) and 28 Days Later (2002).
Throughout the film you see the infected adding to a monolithic structure, that looks like a piece of modern art. It starts as a pile of assorted items and is finished with chairs (see photo). Zombie movies have represented cultural fears in the past. People strung out on drugs, mindless communists, all represented by feral drones drained of their humanity. It’s possible that Ravenous is following in their footsteps, showing us that we worship consumerism.
Being from Vermont, the chair sculpture reminded me of the Tallest Filing Cabinet located in the South End of Burlington (see photo). Being in such close proximity to Quebec it could be possible that it lent some inspiration.
I give Ravenous high praise for tone and pacing. I find that a lot of zombie movies are quick-moving pseudo-action movies, with plenty of kicking-ass and exploding brains. As a viewer this became boring fast, and I lost some interest in the zombie genre. Ravenous was a welcome palate cleanser. Slow moving camera work builds suspense, combining beautiful cinematography with violent imagery without going over the top. Highly recommended.
Marc-André Grondin as Bonin. Monia Chokri as Tania. Charlotte St-Martin as Zoé. Micheline Lanctôt as Pauline. Marie-Ginette Guay as Thérèse. Brigitte Poupart as