Life After Beth Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
DVD released by Koch Media
Written and directed by Jeff Baena
2014, 89 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 2nd February 2015
Aubrey Plaza as Beth
Dane DeHaan as Zach
John C. Reilly as Maury
Molly Shannon as Geenie
Ever dated a zombie? No, neither had Zach (Dane DeHaan) before his long-time girlfriend, Beth (Aubrey Plaza), died from a snake bite and mysteriously came back to life a week later. At first, Zach is over the moon when she miraculously reappears without memory of her death, and appearing pretty normal. So are her parents, the grief-stricken John C Reilly and hysteric Molly Shannon. But when her zombie traits start surfacing and she learns the truth about what has happened, relationships get somewhat rocky.
It might not be the kind of film plot that has you rushing to your local DVD rental, but actually Life After Beth starts out as a fairly interesting take on the popular zomcom (or ‘romcomzom’) – just when we thought it had run out of steam.
The mystery of, and reaction to, Beth’s resurrection chugs along nicely, making for an intriguing little drama (think US TV series, Resurrection but with hammier acting and more flippant attitude), while Zach’s efforts to keep the secret from Beth as her gradual zombie transformation takes form are littered with amusing moments.
Though the film’s exhaustive efforts to run through every comical situation that could come from a human/zombie romance get tiresome quickly, there’s a handful of laughs in there to complement some genuinely charming scenes, courtesy of the sweet chemistry between DeHaan and Plaza. Ultimately, it’s the co-stars’ performances that leave the deepest mark.
DeHaan is wonderful as the emotionally charged but seemingly only logical person of the lot, yet it’s Plaza that steals the show as we see her larger-than-life character become more confused and destructive on her inevitable journey to outright zombie girl.
It’s when more dead-come-resurrected pop up all over the town – and Beth and Zach’s relationship becomes sidelined to a half-hearted apocalypse – that everything turns from pretty charming to downright silly – and, to its demise, only too familiar. Taking the easy way out in the last thirty minutes, Life After Beth is a missed opportunity that begins life as an inventive, novel idea but doesn’t have the legwork to finish it through.
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