Life After Beth – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

In this zombie comedy, a young man’s girlfriend comes back to life and while she at first seems normal, she degrades into a functional zombie.

Review (with Spoilers)

I can’t say exactly what is the appeal of Aubrey Plaza, and yet when I see her name attached to something it makes me want to see the movie. Though I have to admit, with the way she explained the film on The Daily Show and the clip they showed with Dane DeHaan, Molly Shannon, and John C. Reilly, I was really tempted to just skip this movie. If just because, while DeHaan I think is a good actor, as well as Anna Kendrick and Cheryl Hines who are in the film, seeing Molly Shannon or John C. Reilly in a film is like seeing Eugene Levy or Denise Richards, it automatically creates a red flag. Now, to find out whether the red flag is deserved or not, read below.

Characters & Story

To clear her head, a young woman named Beth (Aubrey Plaza) decides to go on a hike by herself; which unfortunately leads to her dying from a snake bite. But after only being buried for a day or so, she returns much to the delight of her parents Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon). However, with her rising from the dead comes the fear of what people may assume if they found out. Especially Beth’s boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) who, after sharing their grief with him getting shut out, is acting like a fool because he thinks he saw Beth in their window. Leading to a story in which Maury is doing his best to keep his daughter alive, and hidden, after her resurrection, despite all signs pointing to her needing to be put back in the ground.

Praise

Though certainly not hilarious, the film does have its moments when it will make you chuckle. For it has very goofy moments, like watching Beth tumble down a hill with a stove on her back. But, outside of a few laughs and giggles here and there, I don’t think there is much else to praise.

Criticism

If just because this film is not only bleh but it lacks potential. For, as noted in my The To Do List review, Aubrey Plaza has no business being the star of a movie. A strong supporting character, like how Melissa McCarthy was in Bridesmaids, yes, but the star? Absolutely not because her off-putting presence never rises above being like an intriguing gimmick. Something which seems destined to make her that one odd character which makes you go “What the hell?” whenever she appears and says something. For, as of this point in her career, that is what she is good at, and in the film she tries to be your everyday girlfriend and she seems to be forcing herself so hard to seem convincing as a regular old love interest, that it makes her off-putting demeanor rise to dangerous levels.

Then, on top of that, you have a cast and story which tries to mix horror elements with odd comedic moments, which honestly rarely even works for veterans of the Horror/Comedy sub-genre like Child’s Play and Nightmare on Elm Street when Robert Englund was Freddy. So imagine an actor like DeHaan, who seems more made for dramas than comedies, being mixed with comedians like Plaza, Shannon and Reilly who are the type of comedians who really seem like they should never be within the first 3-4 names listed on a film.  

Overall: Skip It

The film isn’t funny, it isn’t scary, there is no thriller element, and the overall production seems like someone’s capstone project for their Bachelor’s in Film. Which is why I’m saying to skip this. For while, despite what I’m writing, it doesn’t make me think less of Plaza or DeHaan for being involved, and how they performed, it just reinforces how some of the actors in this movie have no business being the stars of a movie. Maybe a TV show, but at this point in their careers they don’t have what it takes to command your attention, get you to laugh, and send you home with a smile on your face.

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