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The Standing Dead

Ravenous (2017) follows a group of survivors in Quebec that try and find a way to live in a world in which a virus gives humanity an insatiable appetite for human flesh. While avoiding the zombie-like masses, they come to terms with themselves and their fellow survivors, trying to find a way to not only avoid bodily harm, but losing their minds and hope.

Ravenous (2017) Review

Not to be confused with the 1999 Guy Pearce cult-ish oddity of the same name, this Ravenous is essentially a French Canadian take on The Walking Dead's concept of focusing on the characters and the trauma associated with a zombie-ridden world. Ravenous doesn't carry a great deal of originality on the surface, but its off-camera tension and unique cinematography differentiate it from most zombie flicks in recent memory.

Ravenous is more about its characters than anything else, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some thought put into its zombie concept. They feel like a mix between The Crazies, 28 Days Later and traditional shambling zombies, seemingly showing signs of memory and purpose, but otherwise ruthless and feral. They seem to be more than just zombies, but at the end of the day their lust for flesh is all that matters.

But like I said, this movie is about the characters. The screentime is overrun with downtrodden scenes in which the characters unveil their pasts to one another, further delving into their current psychological states in how they interact with their new world and new friends. This film does behave unlike most zombie films in that the characters appear to be experiencing the trauma of such an event in a more realistic manner. They aren't quick to dismiss their old lives and it's clear that the baggage of the major infection event is equally as damaging as a biting zombie.

It makes for quite a dark drama. But there is plenty of blood and zombies to go around. The film has a knack for leaving the action, showing just before and the aftermath, but the aftermath is certainly there. You know exactly what went down, though it feels like you are getting on stage freeze frame monologues sans the monologue every time someone is harmed.

The cinematography is worth mentioning. The majority of the piece has this art house style that feeds the dramatic aspects of the film while building tension with its tight camera shots. The unusual take does well to the intended message of the film and makes for a unique experience, though that unique experience is overlaid with a sense of deja vu and familiarity.

This film is a battle of original craft in an unoriginal world. The winner is about as clear as a man wrestling with a zombie on the ground. You're waiting to see who comes out on top, but then the credits roll and you're still not sure how you feel.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 7/10

Horror Quality: 5/10

Film Quality: 6/10

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