Movie Review – Life After Beth (2014)

Life After Beth
Directed by Jeff Baena
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: October 21, 2014

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Although I don’t judge books or movies by their covers, a quirky title on one will always pique my interest and force me to take a look. Such is the case with LIFE AFTER BETH. I love the play on words here, so I was immediately intrigued. And when I discovered the film was a zombie-comedy, of course I was hooked. Interestingly, the movie is not as funny as I expected, however it is still a heck of a film. If you’re looking for dark tones in your comedy with a nice dash of surrealism, this film is definitely for you.

If you are not familiar with LIFE AFTER BETH, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

Zach is devastated after his girlfriend Beth dies unexpectedly. After Beth suddenly and mysteriously returns to life, Zach is overjoyed to have the second chance to prove his love for her. But when Beth starts developing some bizarre tendencies – including a rather disturbing taste for flesh – Zach has to confront the facts. Can love survive among the living dead?

LIFE AFTER BETH is shot well and has a high production value. The acting is excellent, with Aubrey Plaza portraying the titular Beth and Dane DeHaan starring alongside her as Zach, her boyfriend. Also of note are Molly Shannon and John C. Reilly, who play Beth’s parents, and Paul Reiser and Cheryl Hines, who portray Zach’s folks. The whole cast does a stellar job, and it shows with the onscreen chemistry that is evident.

The concept for this film is superb, and the production team does a good job putting it onscreen. What is lacking, however, is an abundance of laughs. Granted, there are a few humorous scenes that made me giggle (I love the part where Zach is trying to sneak Beth out of the house and then accidentally drops her off the roof), but there are many situations within the film that are ripe for humor and could have been harvested for such.

Still, even with that aside, you can’t help but like LIFE AFTER BETH. There are just so many things to like about it. Whether its Zach’s paranoid, authoritative brother Kyle or Beth’s delusional, hippy-like parents, the bizarre nature of the characters and their dilemmas make you want to like them. And the plot itself is interesting, for sure. Why are the dead coming back to life? It doesn’t really matter, as long as it gives those around them a second chance to rectify a few things.

Regardless of its classification (humor, horror, or both), LIFE AFTER BETH is a win for me, and I think you should check it out. It’s a nice hybrid of humor and despair, a tragic comedy that would make Greek playwrights envious. But it’s also a lot of fun. The film is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

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