MIFF 2014 Review: Life After Beth (2014) — Disappointing Zom-Com That Lacks Bite

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Life After Beth opens with Zach (Dane DeHaan) mourning the recent death of his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza). He takes solace in the companionship of Beth’s parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon), until they suddenly break contact with the confused Zach. While desperately attempting to re-ignite contact, he realises that Beth has mysteriously reappeared and her parents have been hiding her. Zach takes this opportunity to re-establish their romantic relationship, but over time the resurrected Beth begins to grow increasingly aggressive and unpredictable, and a level of physical decomposition begins to set in. But Zach soon realises that his zombie girlfriend is not alone as more and more of the undead begin to appear in town.

Somebody's cranky...

Somebody’s cranky…

From first-time writer/director Jeff Baena, Life After Beth suffers from a lack of inspiration. It fails as a zombie film, it fails as a comedy, and it fails as a relationship film; but it’s not terrible — it’s just unbelievably mediocre. After the gimmick of ‘zombie girlfriend’ is played out after the first 30 minutes, the movie plods along without any major developments until it ultimately fizzles out at the climax. It’s an idea that would have worked in a smaller time-frame, but the feature-length hurts it.

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Review: Zombieland (2009)

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com on 02/11/09.

From the moment I first saw the trailer to Zombieland, I knew that this horror/comedy hybrid road picture would be right up my alley. But as we all know, trailers can be deceiving – they can make a bad movie look interesting and vice versa. I’m pleased to say that not only is Zombieland an awesome flick, but it’s one of my favourites this year. Booya!

The film starts with Columbus (Eisenberg), seemingly a rare surviving human in post-apocalyptic Earth – now dubbed ‘Zombieland’. Although being on the Woody Allen side of neurotic, Columbus explains that these neuroses are what have kept him alive all this time, written as a list of rules for survival (Rule #1 – Cardio: ‘When the zombie outbreak first hit, the first to go were the fatties’). On his journeys he meets up with Tallahassee (Harrelson), a gun toting redneck whose one mission is to find a Twinkie in Zombieland before they all expire. They then stumble across charlatan sisters Wichita and Little Rock (Stone, Breslin), whom after they con the two men out of their truck and guns join together in their journey west to theme park Pacific Playland.

A standard evening at Coles.

Running at a brisk 81 minutes, Zombieland is non-stop entertainment juggernaut and although it is more on the comedy side than horror, there is plenty is violence and gore at hand but it is more slapstick than gross-out. Director Fleischer does a wonderful job in pacing the film so that we get equal amounts of character development in between the hilarity. After watching this I could say that his style is a cross between Zack Snyder and Greg Mottola (through obvious and not-so-obvious comparisons).

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