Director: Jeff Baena
Writer: Jeff Baena
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Anna Kendrick, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler
Studio: A24/American Zoetrope

“Life After Beth” takes an almost “My Girl” level approach to frame the Zombie Apocalypse. Boy and girl love each other. Girl gets bitten by a snake. Boy mourns the loss of girl. Girl’s family hides her away from boy. Boy finds out that girl has been resurrected and tries to reintroduce her to the world. Girl freaks out like Frankenstein and brings down the wrath of zombie hunters everywhere. Anna Kendrick’s mom also goes all Romero in this, thus pushing Anna Kendrick and Dane DeHaan into a potential relationship. Zombie April Ludgate is not amused.

Aubrey Plaza is fast becoming one of my favorite actresses. Still, she doesn’t have the power to save a misguided movie. Before I tear ass into the current middlin’ field of zombie vehicles, I wanted to call something out. What’s up with all of the Jewish familial/Holocaust imagery throughout the movie? Hell, Molly Shannon ties her daughter to an oven at the start of the third act. At first, I thought I was reading way too much into the families of the two leads being characters affiliated with the chosen people. Then, I saw that loose reference to Eagle’s Nest and I threw my hands in the air. Why put all of this subtext in the movie and then never act upon it?

Zombies get used for most social ills, causes and troubles that we need to address. Other times they run and do stuff to keep your Hyperactive kids entertained. “Life After Beth” is a relationship movie that goes out of its way to be a horror film. Unfortunately, it fails in both regards. I really wanted to find something in this film and I can’t quite pin down whose fault it was for the film’s failure.


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