#REVIEW: “LES AFFAMÉS”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Winner of the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature at TIFF, Les Affamés (The Ravenous) is a refreshing Zombie Flick from Québécois Writer/Director Robin Aubert. Starring Goon’s Marc-André Grondin, the Movie deftly combines humour and light scares in a way that is sure to please genre fans. Its inclusion in this year’s Canada Top Ten Festival was a well-deserved feather in the cap of this unusual Movie.
A mysterious disease has struck the people of this rural Quebec community. No one knows what caused it but they know that if bitten by an infected person, death will be the least of their worries. Led by Bonin (Grondin), Tania (Monia Chokri), and young Zoé (Charlotte St-Martin), the few lone survivors believe if they can make it to the city the government will help keep them safe. Armed with shotguns, machetes, and makeshift spears, they must cross through open fields and dark forests knowing infected people could be hiding anywhere.
As each smaller group of survivors joins the larger enclave, the chances of defeating the menace grows but the genre demands martyrs. Aubert has created a world where no one’s survival is ensured but thanks to his fully developed supporting characters the audience will find themselves cheering for everyone from the grumpy old man to autocratic businesswoman.
The creatures are able to run at human speeds but other than their hunger are given no superhuman abilities. Although the word zombie is never spoken it is clear what these undead beings are meant to be. In fact, it is their latent humanity that make Aubert’s zombies interesting. From their group-think decision to return to the countryside to the construction of pillars in memorial to their lost humanity these zombies are unique in a landscape of Walking Dead knock-offs.
Aubert’s use of symbolism and silence keep this Movie from falling into the usual clichéd traps. Strong performances from the entire cast make this a Canadian Feature a genre standout. Despite a messy Third Act, Les Affamés is the subtitled Zombie Flick you didn’t know you needed.
Les Affamés will play at Canada’s Top Ten Festival Thursday, January 18, 2018 and Sunday, January 21, 2018.