The zombie apocalypse happens in the background but at least there is smooth jazz?
Welcome back to my dungeon where the lights are dim, the smell is musty and the films generally stink.
This week I watched Life After Beth. In the beginning of the film, Beth goes hiking alone at night. This, for the record, is always one hundred percent a completely stupid idea. Don’t do this friends. Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is apparently bitten by a snake and killed. This happens off screen (like most of the interesting things in this film).
Next we see Zack (Dane Dehaan) trying to buy black napkins at a supermarket. He’s sent to the party supply store instead. In the next scene he’s clearly at the wake for Beth and it’s pretty obvious Zack was Beth’s ex and he’s pretty broken up about the whole thing. Zack spends some time bonding with Beth’s parents played by John C. Reily and Molly Shannon.
Late at night, in the background Zack thinks he sees someone running around. The next day he goes back and is sure he sees Beth. His brother comes over and tries to calm Zack down but of course, eventually he ends up in the Slocum’s (Beth’s last name) house. And surprise, there is his dead ex girlfriend looking both alive and super happy to see Zack. Unfortunately, Beth’s parents want to keep the whole thing of her death and return a secret from Beth.
Zack tries to take Beth hiking but is stopped by her dad. In the meantime, Beth is doing some weird things like, having super huge mood swings and gathering dirt to put into the attic. Most of that we don’t really see.
The movie sort of goes along like this for a while where weird things happen in the background. People who seem to have been dead or missing for a while show up in town but not quite acting like themselves.
Zack gets overly emotional with Beth and tries to serenade her on the beach. Beth freaks out and uses super human strength to destroy a lifeguard lookout tower. Zack is understandably nervous at this point and thinks that he might get eaten by his dead girlfriend. That’s a reasonable assumption in my book any given day of the week. Still, for some reason he sticks around and wants to take Beth hiking.
Beth on the other hand is only able to calm down by listening to smooth jazz or making out with Zack.
Pretty soon the whole dang town is listening to smooth jazz and only Zack and Erica Wexler (Anna Kendrick) an old family friend, seem to notice anything off. This includes when Zack accidentally full on runs Beth over and Beth gets up no problem. Do the townsfolk think that’s weird? Not at all! Totally normal except of course they are a little mad at Zack.
Beth then screams at the onlookers and finally they get scared. Uh, what? Ok but fine.
Zack decides to spill the beans to Beth and let her know that she’s dead. This does not go well and soon the whole town is filled with zombies. I never understood in watching this if Zack telling Beth about this was supposed to be the trigger to make all the zombies aggressive or what. It was implied but I was never sure.
Pretty soon Zack tries to protect his family by warning them and then is promptly knocked out by John C. Reily. He spends most of the evening of the apocalypse blacked out and we see zero of the interesting stuff.
About the only really interesting part of this whole film was the end when Zack takes Beth hiking but she has to have an oven strapped to her back to prevent her from eating Zack. Zack puts Beth out of her misery after telling her how he felt about her. Then he gets to go have dinner with Erica Wexler, yay!
Ughhh. Okay so where do I start with this whole thing now that I have told you about it? Spoilers by the way. Shoot, gotta remember to put that up higher in my reviews.
Zack has a lot of overacting in this thing and he just comes off as whiny to me for most of it. Everything that could be fun or funny about this movie happens off screen or is presented in the most boring way possible.
That being said, this film is not exactly bad. It’s certainly not so bad it’s good. It’s just kinda meh.
It got trashed by critics when it came out but I don’t think it was due to the film itself. It has a decent cast and other than Zack’s whining I think it was well acted. Beth did give sort of over the top screams at times but it fit in with, you know the whole zombie thing. But critics hated this because there had recently been a slew of zombie films in the theaters and of course The Walking Dead was still rocking it on the television sets. I think critics were just kind of burnt out of the genre and might have even trashed Zombieland if it had come out at the exact same time as this.
I don’t really recommend watching this but there are definitely worse films out there. If you don’t believe me, read any of my other reviews.
There were missed opportunities here to me. At first when the dead seemed to return, most of them were acting a little odd but kind of generally nice. To me, having the whole movie be like that would have been far more interesting. Like what would we do in a zombie apocalypse if basically, everyone was really nice but they needed to change their diet? That could have worked.
I did find one line pretty funny when Zack gets upset that Beth eats a guy. Her response is, “What do you want from me Zack? I’m a zombie, zombies eat guys.” Fact check – true!
Other than that though, this movie was just sort of okay. I never found myself hating it or loving it. Hopefully next week the film I watch will be more interesting, even if it sucks.
Last week James Cordon did a piece about fat shaming and mentioned a terrible movie Bill Mahr was in and a terrible movie he himself was in. I immediately felt the need to do a side by side comparison to see which one is worse. I’ll be starting with Bill’s movie, Cannibal Women and the Avocado Jungle of Death. I have a strong suspicion it’s going to be every bit as bad as his opinions on fat shaming.