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The Tower review – apocalyptic lockdown horror goes into the dark, deadly void | Horror films

At the beginning of this remorselessly bleak apocalyptic nightmare, the residents of a tower block in Paris wake up to find the world outside has disappeared. “There is no outdoors,” marvels one man. In its place is a vast black nothingness that swallows up everything and anyone that enters it. About five minutes in, you might start thinking about the plot holes, which feel as gaping as the void’s blackness. Such as, how is that the flats still have electricity? What is making the TVs flicker like it’s the 1980s? Why hasn’t the building been sucked into the abyss?

Actually, these questions are a pleasant distraction from the film’s grim vision of how low humanity can sink. Its writer and director, the novelist and film-maker Guillaume Nicloux, clearly subscribes to a Hobbesian view that, in the event of society breaking down, we’ll all be boiling each other’s fleshy parts in 15 minutes flat. The residents in the block, quickly realising that nobody is coming to save them, begin to organise themselves into alliances to ration food and water – “It’s going to get ugly fast,” mutters someone darkly. Five months down the line, they are pallid, haggard and greasy-haired. It took me a couple of seconds for the penny to drop when I saw dogs and cats in cages on the counters in kitchens. Life in the block is lawless, run by competing gangs trading in pet meat.

I have to confess to a little shudder of horror seeing “five years later” flash up on the screen. After this time has passed, life is more brutal, the gangs are nastier and the residents look like zombies on tranquillisers. There’s even a creepy bunch of Bible followers known as the “baby eaters” (this is not a euphemism). The Tower is a hellish vision of isolation that must surely have been dreamed up during the pandemic lockdown; it made me want to switch on The Road for a bit of light entertainment. Not easy to recommend, this.

The Tower is released on 25 September on digital platforms

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