Am I the only person in the world that thinks that the zombie sub-genre should die down? Once the vampire craze was done and over with, the next step was zombies. Thanks to the success of “The Walking Dead” and multiple video games and movies, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. With these trends, what used to be special and frightening, is now clichéd and not scary. It’s only a matter of time until they move on to another classic monster. But until then, we have “Life After Beth,” just another zombie flick.
When your loved ones pass away, most people plead for them to come back. But then, reality hits us like a ton of bricks and we go on with our lives, knowing that it will never happen. Unfortunately, for Zach [Dane DeHaan], he got more than he was expecting. After dying from a snake bite on a hiking trip, Zach’s girlfriend Beth [Aubrey Plaza] rises from the grave. Her parents [John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon] try to keep her away from the outside world. But they soon realize that Beth is not the same person. As Beth begins to draw blood all around town, it’s up to Zach to put an end to her rampage.
“Life After Beth” was distributed by A24 Films. So far this year, they’ve had such hits as “Enemy,” “Under the Skin” and “Locke.” I think they dropped the ball here. For all it’s worth, the trailer did sell me on the idea that this film could be funny. When it comes to humor, I only chuckled a few times and that’s it.
For a film that relied on the gimmick that it is a horror-comedy, the trailers were misleading. Whenever there is a joke sprinkled in, it comes at a moment that feels forced. Some of the best comedy was when it decided to go for some dark humor. I won’t spoil it here, but the ending got the biggest laugh out of me and when you see it, you’ll know why.
It’s a shame because the cast they got was great. I’m not too familiar with Aubrey Plaza’s filmography, but I understand her deadpan style of comedy. Even before she turns into a zombie, her character is wildly annoying. In the movie, she is supposed to be twenty, but instead, she talks like a fifteen year old. She does have some genuinely sweet moments, but she’s neither funny nor scary.
Out of the entire cast, Dane DeHaan was great, as he gave it his all. The material he was given was okay, but he does his best. Zach was a genuinely likeable character that grew as a person through his own arc. If he wasn’t the main character, this movie would have lost me about thirty minutes in.
When it comes down to wasted opportunities, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon as Beth’s parents were highly under-used. This was a great comedic pairing that could have led to some hilarious moments. Instead, they spend most of their time spouting cliched expository dialogue.
If I had to describe “Life After Beth” in a nutshell, it was a wasted opportunity. They had all this great talent around them and instead of using it to their full advantage, they let it go to waste. About an hour or so once the film was done, it slowly started to fade from my memory. If your film is that forgettable, then that’s a big problem.
Overall, “Life After Beth” was a waste of ninety minutes. If this doesn’t prove that zombies are boring, then I don’t know what will. Despite some good performances, there isn’t much here to warrant paying full price. If this pops up on Netflix, just view it as a time-waster.
Matt Bilodeau can be contacted at email@example.com