A young man's recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.A young man's recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.A young man's recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.
Aubrey Plaza plays the Beth of Life After Beth – a recently deceased sorta ex- girlfriend of Zach, Dane DeHaan, who mysteriously rises from the grave. The longer cadaverous Beth walks amongst the living the more Zach realizes things are not quite right.
Plaza and DeHaan are nuanced in their performances. Plaza slowly transforms on par with her character Beth's physical transformation into putrid detritus. DeHaan contributes with concerned subtle glances and side-eyes that at any moment his ex-girlfriend hunger for brains will kick in.
Jeff Baena writes and directs this weird RomCom zombie movie. Life After Beth is the definition of quirky and unconventional. It is bizarre and aspects of it are well thought out. It somehow blurs the line between horror and romance – with the dialogue delightfully ambiguous enough to make audiences forget the subject matter:
Zach: You don't wanna eat me right now? Beth: Zach Stop, my parents!
Baena's theme through out the film is that being a zombie does not change a person substantially. As the layers of flesh are biologically broken down, so do the humanity-driven walls we build up to reveal a rawer version of the person. (note: I realize this is way deeper than needs to be) In this case Beth becomes voraciously needy, emotionally turbulent and in desperate denial.
Life After Beth is smart and surprisingly novel movie interpretation given the influx supply in the zombie movie section of video rentals. But it is half realized and under-formed in the parallels and juxtaposition between being in denial about being undead and being in a relationship that is no longer thriving.
The concept of using zombie-dom as a mirror and metaphor to look into a romantic relationship is fascinating. It is not realized or explored to its full potential that should have been expanded upon.
Life After Beth reminds us that together forever is a really long commitment when half of the relationship is a zombie.
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- Oct 6, 2014