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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ravenous (2017)




This is an interesting entry into the zombie movie marathon. This French-Canadian production focuses more on the characters and their struggles than it does the gore and makeup. Not sure if I dig that idea but I’m willing to give it a shot.

The movie opens at a racing track where we see a woman get attacked by a zombie. This is a quick jump into the action. Things slow down as we are introduced to our survivors. There is a woman hunting zombies by stopping her car and playing music loudly until they get close enough for her to beat down. Another has a pair of guys also hunting zombies before heading off to a hunting cabin. There are some deaths and one of the men does manage to save a woman along the way. We also see an older man and a kid find each other and start wandering around protecting each other’s back. Finally, there are a couple of women at an isolated farm. Some of the characters are connected from before the zombies and some aren’t, but all end up together.

Spread out while introducing everyone and continuing after they link up are flashbacks explaining how they came to be in the middle of the apocalypse. None of it talks about the zombie outbreak or how long it has been. Though it feels like it has been some time since it first started. The movie focuses more on them trying to survive, avoid the zombies, and discover their odd obsession with building towers out of junk. Seriously the zombies build piles of chairs and other debris into little towers/altars and then proceed to stare at them. Why? Never really explained but it does play an important part in the depressing downer of an ending.

This isn’t a fun movie nor one that will scratch that zombie itch. As I mentioned earlier Ravenous focuses more on the characters and their interactions with one another. We have a mother that lost her family, a guy trying to reconnect with his, the woman who was bitten by a dog… probably, and others. There is some conflict between them, but it is measured and realistic. No one is shooting someone because they have a scratch on them. Each character is given time to become three dimensional and relatable to the audience. This provides the movie with some emotional impact and I found myself liking the characters a lot.

These zombies do enjoy piling crap up in fields...
Something else that I found very interesting is that they managed this character development and storytelling with minimal dialogue. They do speak to one another, but everyone seems a bit traumatized by what they have seen and done and aren’t chatty. That adds to the depressing vibe as it seems most of the characters are just counting the days until the dead catch up to them. But it also makes parts of the movie very slow, bordering on boring. How many times can we see sad people starring at the sky or walking silently across a field? Sadly, I also think that it also plays into my desire to never watch the movie again. While interesting I just don’t see this as the sort of thing that I’ll have a desire to revisit.

I wasn’t fond of the ending, which I won’t spoil here. But it does fit the rest of the movie. I know that some viewers like a movie that when you get to the end you still don’t know anything. Why zombies? Is there any hope? What was the point of showing us the characters only to have it not end well for most of them? I like a resolution or at least some sign of hope. You sort of get something like that in the end, but I really just wasn’t feeling it. If you are looking for a movie that is different than Ravenous is the movie for you. This wasn’t the one for me so I can’t really recommend it. It isn’t a bad movie and it isn’t a good one. This is solidly in the mediocre column of zombie movies. Hopefully I’ve given you enough to help you decide if it might be for you.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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