A new kind of zombie is emerging out of the woods of Québec. Robin Aubert’s movie Les Affamés has the flavour of The Walking Dead meets The Wicker Man. The problems in this type of folk horror is not with surviving the holocaust, but instead in how not to provoke the dread when escaping the infected zone. This particular invasion is probably isolated. We are not sure about this fact, but I sense there’s more to this film than to provide a few simple but fantastic zombie kills. Although tame by Hollywood standards, the social studies is where this film’s focus is at.
This movie has a diverse cast lost in the sea of hope—and all they want is to get rescued. If anyone is going to help, it’s only their neighbours. Even that proves tough. As Bonin (Marc-André Grondin) manages to survive one onslaught, he has to see if anyone else is still “alive.”
Fortunately, he finds a few people—Tania (Monia Chokri), Celine (Brigitte Poupart), Real (Luc Proulx) and Zoe (Charlotte St-Martin). They all come from different walks of countryside life. The latter is a child, and despite the obvious realization that she will live, everyone else will no doubt die.
The zombies seem to have their own agenda and to figure it out will require more than a bottle of tequila and having that worm bore into my brain to provide an answer. While this idea will not turn me into Wormwood of IDW’s Gentleman Corpse, the rewatch did let me think about why this film takes place in a quiet Québec countryside. It’s far more remote. The zombies can quietly take over and nobody from the big cities will even notice. I pondered over whether there was meaning of why this film’s introduction took place at the racing tracks, before the first victim got attacked.
When considering the imagery this film offers, there’s potential symbolism being made the size of Eiffel tower. Well, not quite, but there must be meaning behind the huge pile of chairs being stacked a mile high. Every time this film cuts back to it, the edifice grows! The zombies looming nearby seem to behave like cattle, home on the range. These details are not explored, and it’s not likely a sequel is planned to explain it. Unlike the excellent The Girl With All the Gifts which offers us hints at life everlasting (however ill defined that is), this film leaves viewers with a few lingering thoughts for the thoughtful viewer like me to consider.
3.5 out of 5
This film played at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival as part of the opening weekend Thrill Chill selection of films. It will soon be playing on Netflix, beginning March 2nd.
You can find Ed on twitter looking for spooky things in all the spooky places.