Zach (Dane DeHaan) loves him some Beth
something awful, and why wouldn't he since she's completely
adorable and looks exactly like Aubrey Plaza. Tragically
one day, and we don't know how, but the young woman dies and
Zach's life is destroyed. But this film 'Life After
Beth' is a zombie movie so she's coming back… but more on that
As a coping mechanism, Zach has been spending a lot of time…
an unhealthy amount of time… with Beth's parents Maury (John
C. Reilly) and Geenie Slocum (Molly Shannon), until they don't
seem to want him around anymore. Are they moving on with
their lives without Beth? No… actually… they are hiding
Beth who has somehow clawed her way out of her grave.
Eventually Zach figures this out, forces his way into the
Slocum's home and is finally reunited with his true
love. Sure, there are some things that are odd about
Beth, such as a frayed memory, Beth not remembering that she
actually broke up with Zach before she passed on, but she's
still Beth, just with worse breath. Not that Beth's bad
breath is going to stop Zach from having sex with her.
That's crazy talk.
There are some other strange things happening in this little
sleepy town as Beth doesn't seem to be the only one who has
somehow returned from the other side, and while those who have
come back seem to start out normal, I'm thinking the lack of a
blood flow might lead to some brain decay which leads to some
seriously erratically violent behavior. Unless you
happen to have access to the smooth sounds of Dave Koz or
Najee or Kenny G to soothe these savage beasts.
Still, despite Beth's worsening condition, and the fact that
the end of the world seems to upon us as the Dead are walking
the earth en masse, Zach still loves him some Beth. Can
there be love in the time of zombie, or does the axiom, if you
love somebody, let them go, hold true?
Writer / Director Jeff Baena's 'Life after
Beth' is a strange film, one I'm not sure what to make of, but
at least I can tell you I liked it. I think. You
see, this is a difficult film to get a decent grip on, which
it shouldn't be since the film is pretty darned straight
forward. Admittedly the genre of Rom/Zom/Com might not
be all that common, but 'Life after Beth' still sets up its
story like a typical RomCom with the slight reversal of
starting off with Boy has lost girl / Boy gets girl back / Boy
must lose girl again.
The issue behind trying to wrap one's mind around this movie
is trying to figure out, 'what kind of movie is this trying to
be?' It's listed as a comedy, and there are some
genuinely funny people in this movie such as glorious return
of Paul Reiser… at least I don't know where he's been for the
last few years… but there's really not a lot about 'Life after
Beth' that's all that funny. It's somewhat amusing, but
not very funny.
The romance part… well… that's a little difficult to reconcile
too. Sure, Beth is the zombie, but Zach is the one who
seems to have the real issues. I want to be happy that
Zach's dead girlfriend has clawed her way out the grave and
now they can be together forever, or until she eats him, but I
deep inside I was watching this movie hoping Zach would find a
mental health professional and get some assistance.
But I did like the movie. The performances were earnest
with the entire cast in a place between being in on the joke,
but still taking the events around them deadly serious.
Dane DeHaan really, truly looks like he needs to get more
sleep though. The film had a pace which was all it's
own, say a regular movie runs at 4\4 time, 'Life after Beth'
operated at 4.5\3.2 time, which might indicate that the movie
had no rhythm, but like that stoned chick at the house party
who is in the corner dancing completely off beat, you know
she's hearing some kind of rhythm that's working for her, and
the same can be said for this movie. And in the end it
was all kind of bittersweet, and that wouldn't have worked if
the setup that came prior wasn't working.
Truly, 'Life after Beth' is a unique cinema experience, one
that comes with that unwanted label of 'It might not be for
everyone', but in a sea of sameness, it does at least
offer up something somewhat fresh, despite the presence of
rotting flesh, and that among other things is what makes it