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Film Review: Life After Beth


Year: 2014
Director: Jeff Baena
Country of Origin: U.S.
Rating: R
Time: 91 mins

Just when we were all getting pretty sick of Zombie films, the co-writer of I Love the Huckabees (2004) and who is also Aubrey Plaza's boyfriend, Jeff Baena, decides to explore the world of the "zom-rom-com" with Life After Beth. We first witnessed the birth of the zom-rom-com genre last year when Warm Bodies made it's cutesy debut and it's clear that this is a genre that is here to stay. Although the zombie genre has been sucked dried, ripped apart, and pummeled to death at this point, props to Baena reviving it in this decently refreshing and endearing take on modern day romance with a black humor twist and the biggest help from its all star indie cast!

The film begins with Zach (Dane DeHaan) distraughtly asking the store clerk if they have any black napkins, it is assumed that he is going to the funeral. It is soon revealed that it is the funeral of his unexpectedly deceased girlfriend, Beth (Plaza) who got mysteriously got bit by a spider/bug (?) of sorts. After Zach has a grieve-induced bonding experience with Beth's parents played by none other than John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, they soon become distant towards him upon learning that Beth crawled her way out of her grave and came back to life. Unable to process the logic behind such an act, Zach blindly becomes deliriously drunk in love (cue Bey's song!) by Beth's oddly normal and resurrected presence and embarks on adventures he regretted not doing with her when she was alive. Even though Beth has no recollection of herself dying or breaking up with Zach, she is not the same Beth they know and love. AKA, she is exactly everyone's worst nightmare. Beth is supersonically violent, aggressive, absent-minded, and physically filthy. I mean come on, she is a zombie who is technically deteriorating right before our eyes guys. 

All though the premise is treading on tepid waters, it is the indie cast that keeps this hellish relationship comedy afloat! For both of the leads, DeHaan and Plaza play characters they have not portrayed from their polar opposite roles in The Amazing Spiderman 2 and Parks and Rec, respectively. DeHaan is a Dracula reincarnated with his all black attire and his undeniably endearing and potently convincing love-strucken act while we see Plaza ditch her usual dead-pan stance to embrace a more dramatically colorful costume such as being a flesh-devouring zombie who is emotional! Horray! And who doesn't want to see Reilly and Shannon play delusional and lovable parents who just want their baby back! Awwww...

Clearly, this is a movie about puppy love because once Beth's mental and physical state starts rotting away, so does Zach's love for her. We all know how this story starts and ends but it's the immensely humorous and eerie vibes in between that keeps the film's heart beating a little bit louder and longer. With so many all-star players who I've mentioned and others I haven't (secret), Life After Beth is one of this year's feel good indie summer flicks that you won't regret watching. And if you do, you have my permission to ravage and ingest my flesh. ;D

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