Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review: Life After Beth

(2014) Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly

Being a big horror fan and an avid follower of Aubrey Plaza and John C. Reilly's work I went into Life After Beth expecting big things and to come away with a smile on my face, unfortunately this film did nothing but leave me feeling a tad 'zombiefied'.
The premise is was simple enough, a grieving boyfriend Zach played by Dane DeHaan  attends the wake of his recently deceased girlfriend (Beth), killed by an apparent snakebite. Things are quickly turned on their head when he spots her the walking around the very next day with nothing to show for it but a strange bite on her leg and some memory loss. After having a chat with Beth's parents played by the ever witty John C. Reilly and quirky Molly Shannon the 3 agree its best not to tell Beth about her recent 'resurrection' but to carry on as normal. The Parents see this as an act of god, but Zach believes there is a much more sinister explanation for the return of his girlfriend.
The couple try their very best to continue their relationship and a even manage to conjure up some memories they shared together, but things become difficult when Beth suddenly begins to break into fits of violent rages and becomes victim to terrible mood swings. As more people rise from the grave, Zach's fears are confirmed as he looks upon the brink of a zombie apocalypse. I liked the fact that the zombie aspect of the film was never geared towards just simply eating brains, the rages added a fresh and exciting element to a familiar trope. Unfortunately for me this is where the enjoyment peaked as it felt like the director had to explore these new possibilities at every opportunity, sadly often resulting in the most bland outcome possible. There were countless times when I anticipated  the build-up to a comical scene or scary moment only to be greeted with sarcastic one liners or a lacklustre slapstick element. The plot left huge holes in the middle of the script as it raced towards its final act. There were 2 or 3 scenes where zombies were attracted to people's attics and I was intrigued by this and eager to find out why, however the film completely abandoned this premise leaving me none the wiser. I think its important to mention at this point that this was penned primarily as an 'indie comedy' I did not laugh once from start to finish and overall the film is simply not funny enough. There were quirky characters and 1 or 2 memorable scenes but this was pretty much dead on arrival. Anna Kendrick also stars in this film although because of only been given around 10 lines of dialogue I wish the director had poured his money into something that could have benefitted the plot as this part could have been played by anybody. As the credits rolled after a horribly rushed and negligent end scene I couldn't help feeling like this movie really missed the chance to be something truly unique.

The Verdict

Life After Beth could have been something fresh and unique, sadly this is a classic example of a great idea executed poorly. Even with 1 or 2 stand out scenes and the main cast's talented nothing can prevent this from being the dullest zombie apocalypse you'll watch in a long time.


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