Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Channon, Cheryl Hines, Anna Kendrick, Matthew Gray Gubler
Directed by: Jeff Baena
Synopsis: A young man’s recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.
There have been mixed reviews about Life After Beth, but I have to say I am firmly on the side that really liked it. I thought it was pretty funny throughout and only really let itself down in the last act. Certainly the first two acts were great fun and something a bit different to the usual zombie fare.
Dane DeHaan plays Zach, a heartbroken young man due to the untimely death of his girlfriend Beth, played in her usual dead pan way by Aubrey Plaza. Just when Zach is starting to come to terms with her death he discovers that she is actually still alive, and not just that, but is back living with her parents who are acting as though nothing has happened. Initially sceptical Zach soon forgets himself and dives straight back into the romance head first. The problem? Beth doesn’t actually know she’s dead.
I thought there were some genuinely funny lines and comedic moments throughout the film, all the while Beth doesn’t know what she is, which is basically a zombie. I liked John C. Reilly and Molly Channon as Beth’s parents who are desperate to act normal around her, but also keep her from going outside. I thought Dane DeHaan was good as the confused boyfriend, and Aubrey Plaza always makes me laugh with her style of comedy. Best of all were the constant little giveaway signs that Beth was a zombie, but the other characters either didn’t notice them or refused to acknowledge them.
Where the film fell flat was as soon as Beth finds out what she is. It lost a lot of that ability to conjure up little comedic moments and had to then play for more obvious laughs (some of which were still funny – Beth chained to the washing machine eating her Mum’s finger for instance). Also, the rest of the population turning into Zombies didn’t feel right either, it was better when the film was concentrated on Beth and Zach.
In summary though, I thought Life After Beth more than exceeded my expectations after some dodgy reviews elsewhere and I comfortably laughed more than necessary for a comedy. If you like all things zombie then this might be a bit lightweight for you, but if you liked Shaun of The Dead and Fido then this could be up your street.