A hike alone in the woods ends tragically for Beth Slocum with a fatal snake bite. Her death leaves her parents and boyfriend Zach reeling. After the funeral, Zach tries to make friends with Mr. and Mrs. Slocum, but even they reject him, and he's determined to figure out why. Then he sees Beth. Her parents are trying to keep her resurrection a secret, but zombie Beth provides Zach with the opportunity to do everything with her that he didn't get to do while she was still alive. But with Beth's increasingly erratic behavior and even more strange occurrences around town, life with the undead Beth proves to be particularly complicated for her still-living loved ones.Written by
Composed by Philippe Guez and Patrick Maarek
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Recently I wondered, what else did that guy who wrote I Heart Huckabees do? Turns out a decade later he started writing and directing movies. They all had middling IMDB ratings, but one had an interesting premise and starred the always-entertaining Aubrey Plaza, so I watched that one.
The story begins with the death of Beth;. Most of the first half hour is a melancholy slog through boyfriend Zach's mourning process, which involves sitting around or hanging out with her parents. Then her parents stop talking to him and he peeks through their window and sees ... Beth!
Plaza plays Beth, and she fully commits to a portrayal that gets stranger and stranger. She's quite good, but this is more Beth's movie than Zach's. Dane DeHaan plays Zach as a bland everyman, and the things you want from a lead, like personality or personal growth, are sadly missing.
Still, the story is generally interesting as events ramp up, and there are good moments. If you push through the tedious beginning, it's a reasonably entertaining movie that suffers from poor pacing and a weak lead.
The last half hour is the craziest part, but by the end it feels like not enough has happened to justify a movie. The movie would have worked better if Zach had learned something from it all. Alternately, the movie would have worked better if the script were the first half of something that got really, really crazy by the end. Instead, it's all rather underwhelming.
The movie makes one wonder if writer-director Baen could have pulled off I Heart Huckabees. As a director he's workmanlike, and based on Life After Beth I wonder if perhaps those who worked on the film with him helped make a better movie than existed on paper. Because Life After Beth seems like a rather lazy movie.
I don't really have a recommendation on this one. It's entertaining more often than not, and sometimes quite funny. Plaza is quite good, as is Matthew Gray Gubler as Zach's hyped-up brother. Yet at the end it feels like a ramble to nowhere.
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