EIFF 2014 – Life After Beth
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Chronicle‘s Dane DeHaan and Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza star in Zombie romantic comedy Life After Beth, an undeniably fresh spin on the Zombie comedy genre that seems to be cropping up all over the place these days.
Zach (Dane DeHaan) is distraught after his ex girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is killed by a snake bite following a solo hike. In his grief he becomes closer to Beth’s parents, Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon). It isn’t long before they begin to shut him out which distresses Zach as he is really enjoying their company. As you might expect he snoops on them and finds out that Beth is alive and well, or so it seems.
Beth doesn’t remember dying nor does she remember ending their relationship which makes Zach think that he can make up for his shortcomings as a boyfriend with this second chance. This produces some hilarious situations as her parents act like lunatics to keep her presence hidden from the world as well as keeping the truth about her death and resurrection a secret from her. Zach has other ideas which causes Beth to get really angry and act more zombielike as the film progresses.
This film is nothing short of hilarious, I really liked the hyper-reality the film seems to be set in where nobody reacts in any way that could be considered realistic. Neurotic seems to be the normal way to act in this world as nobody sees it as at all strange. DeHaan has proven himself in dramatic roles in other works but here he shows how capable a comedian he is, his comic timing is spot on and he plays strung out incredulousness really well.
Plaza does a great job too, running the gamut between naive and clueless to soullessly murderous. the sparks of humanity among her undead killing sprees really punctuate these moments and keep the tone light. She does a great job and bounces off DeHaan really well.
The rest of the cast are also very strong, John C. Reilly is always funny and the way he plays Maury in this film is hilarious. I really like his staunchly overprotective demeanour which causes him to do things that can only be described as insane. Matthew Gray Gubler as Zach’s brother Kyle is also superb. Those are only a few highlights in a stellar cast.
What really impressed me is that the film kept things tightly focused on Zach and Beth even when -literally- all hell breaks loose in the third act. Due to the structure of the story I didn’t really care about the wider ramifications as the core characters were so engaging.
A hilarious film with good actors and a very funny script. I found myself riveted from one moment to the next and laughing a lot at the sheer insanity of the events. Very worth a watch this one.