By Dave B.
Ravenous (Netflix), a horror movie that takes place in rural Quebec, is one of the best “zombie” movies ever made. Although that isn’t necessarily a high bar to achieve, Ravenous is an impressive entry in 2018’s horror movie lineup. What makes this movie so good? I’m glad you asked.
First and foremost, the cinematography is outstanding. The director turns the beautiful landscapes of Quebec into a tension-filled nightmare landscape through the use of interesting camera angles and areas of focus. More horror movies should take a chance and be less formulaic with how they visually deliver scenes to audiences. Unfamiliarity creates discomfort which can build tension. Ravenous uses this fact to good effect.
Second, these are probably the most terrifying zombies possible. They’re fast, can remain silent until they are within a couple of feet of you, and they’re capable of rudimentary strategy. Being stalked by hundreds of these things through the woods wouldn’t be fun. They’re a huge upgrade over the mindless and ridiculously superhuman zombies in the World War Z movie. Further, Ravenous’ zombies seem to be developing a unique (and very disturbing) culture of their own.
Part of the allure of good zombie movies is that they serve as social commentary, often by subtly pointing out societies flaws and/or fears. It’s easy to infer how Ravenous could serve as commentary on Quebec’s fears of threats to their culture, whether from English-speaking Canada or from growing immigrant populations. That’s a topic more appropriate for sociologists, but my point is that this movie isn’t intended solely as entertainment.
Ravenous isn’t perfect. Some viewers will become bored by the relatively slow pacing. The first half of the movie is stronger than the second half. This is partly due to more exposure to the world that the movie creates, and partly because they action ramps up as the movie progresses, reducing a viewers focus on some of the movie’s more subtle strengths. The movie also ends with some big unanswered questions. I usually find that annoying and this was no exception.
Overall, Ravenous is a good horror movie and a great zombie movie. The subtitles didn’t bother me. The acting is good. The writing is more than solid. The characters have depth and are fairly memorable. If you’re a fan of horror films, check it out. If you’re a fan of the zombie genre, it’s a must-see. 7.5/10