A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ravenous (aka Les Affamés) is a 2017 French-Canadian horror movie following the survivors of a zombie apocalypse in rural Quebec. While the film's slower pace, beautiful direction, and relative lack of constant frenzy makes this stand out from other zombie movies, it's still extremely violent. A woman is attacked at a racetrack by a zombie, shown getting bitten in the neck and bleeding while screaming. Zombies are taken down with machetes, rifles, knives, spears. Heads are blown off by firearms. A man recently bitten is discovered by a little girl pointing a rifle at his head, on the verge of pulling the trigger. There's implied violence: Friends and loved ones of those recently bitten by zombies who haven't entirely lost their humanity yet are shown on the verge of shooting them. In addition to the violence, there's occasional profanity ("f--k," "s--t") and some drinking. The movie is in French with English subtitles.
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What's the story?
Very few survivors remain in rural Quebec in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak in RAVENOUS (aka Les Affamés). The few who do remain human have seen their loved ones get bitten, become sick at first, and then ferocious as they attack family and friends. Distrustful of strangers and shell-shocked, these survivors cope by telling bad jokes, hiding out in their homes, remaining constantly on the move and ever-vigilant, or driving around hacking zombies with machetes. Eventually, eight of these survivors find each other. It's apparent that their part of the world is seeing an increase in zombies. They decide that their best option is to leave and head for the nearest large city to see if conditions are any better. Along the way, they discover that zombies have been constructing large mounds made up of found chairs and other manmade objects. They also discover that the zombies are learning devious methods of luring, tricking, and then attacking the living. Despite becoming increasingly outnumbered, these few who have not been infected must find a way to endure and find others like them.
Is it any good?
Incredibly, this film stands out in the supersaturated and seemingly done-to-death zombie genre. Beautifully filmed and slow paced, Ravenous seems to have less in common with World War Z and The Walking Dead and more in common with the allegorical survival movie Walkabout and the gray, silent dystopia of The Road. This pace and overall aesthetic go far toward making it a zombie horror movie for those who don't really care much about zombie horror movies; conversely, while Ravenous does have plenty of frightening moments and the blood and gore expected from the genre, those expecting Hollywood-style sensory assault may find it off-putting.
If there's a "star" in this movie, it's rural Quebec. Dense forests and rolling countryside provide a stunning backdrop juxtaposed with images of shell-shocked survivors struggling to carry on. It's the kind of movie that rewards repeated viewings. (And be sure to catch the final seconds after the film's credits.) And like Night of the Living Dead, a '60s film with its obvious allusions to Cold War fears and civil rights struggles, Ravenous appears to have something deeper at work than bloodthirsty zombies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about zombie movies and TV shows. How does Ravenous compare to other offerings in the "zombie apocalypse" genre?
What's the appeal of zombie movies?
The pace is much slower than in other zombie movies, most horror movies, and Hollywood movies in general. What were some of the ways in which the slower pace allowed time to introduce the characters, build tension, and convey any deeper messages the filmmakers were trying to express?
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