Now on Disc: Life After Beth (2014)

by Brian Eggert

Click for the full article
DIRECTOR:
Jeff Baena

CAST:
Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser

RATED:
R

RUNTIME:
89 min.


Our society's pop-culture obsession with zombies continues with Life After Beth, another entry in sub-subgenre where a human carries on a romantic relationship with one of the living dead. There's something inherently disgusting and unbelievable about this scenario that makes horror-comedy fans want to mine it for laughs, although it's rarely accomplished with a satisfying outcome. Warm Bodies suggested that a young woman might fall for a zombie whose humanity slowly comes back as his love blooms around her; but the actionized, takes-itself-seriously third act of that film spoiled any hope for a believable romance. Fortunately, Fido went for a full-on satire, set in a 1950s world where post-apocalyptic zombies are used as pets and servants in Americana homes; the result was a fully formed absurdist romance between Billy Connoly's brain-eater and Carrie-Ann Moss' lonely suburban housewife.

Writer-director Jeff Baena's Life After Beth is marginally more effective than Warm Bodies because it focuses on the zombie-human relationship and keeps the larger apocalyptic details as background noise. Still, the film doesn't establish a firm set of absurdist rules; instead, there's a hint of realism that feels inappropriate to this kind of story. Dane DeHaan plays Zach, who's beset by grief at the loss of his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza). She was going to break up with him before she died of a snakebite while hiking, but he still loves her, to a fault... Read the full article

 

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