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The trailer for Life After Beth had me so excited. The cast alone was a
treat. Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Paul Reiser, Matthew
Grey Gubler and Aubry Plaza. For any offbeat comedy, that's a can't
miss. Even better for me was the film they were all in was a horror
comedy. The trailer came off like a rom-zom-com in the vein of Shaun of
the Dead. I was all on board. It took me forever to come across the
film but it didn't play out like I thought it would be.
DeHaan stars as Zach the ex-boyfriend of the title character Beth
(Plaza) who is going through a rough time. Right before Beth's death,
she dumped him. He's not taking it well. His whole wardrobe is heaped
in black. He's avoiding his parents (Reiser and Cheryl Hines) and
alienated by his by the rules brother (Grey Gubler). He finds solace in
Beth's parents (Reilly and Shannon) who actually treat him more like a
son than his own parents. But when they stop contacting him he goes to
some extremes, borderline stalking, to find out why. He comes to find
out they have been hiding Beth. She's not dead but not alive either.
What follows is some hilarity but mostly teenage angst and a weird
zombie apocalypse. This film is more a teenage drama comedy with lite
sprinkles of horror. It's seems that everyone isn't in on the gag. For
the most part everyone plays it straight. DeHaan the most, but he, like
the audience, is just trying to adjust to this very odd situation. It
works well for him as when craziness does ensue his reactions are
natural. He's just trying to make the best of a very new situation and
he gives off that he truly loves Beth.
The best comedic moments are given to Reilly and Shannon who are
overjoyed their daughter has returned from the grave. And they will do
anything to keep that from getting out. Reilly has some great
one-liners especially when pitted against the straight act of DeHaan.
Sadly 20 minutes before the film ends something happens with his
character off screen and it just seems like the film loses what comic
edge it has. Grey Gubler gets one really funny scene when the zombies
start emerging in numbers. I felt like Reiser and Hines were kind of
wasted. Their one standout moment is a nice play on the dead returning
to where they use to live. Plaza downplays her normal snarky character
here. The best moments are when she goes full on zombie. She gets a
chance to channel her main character trait into some primal violence.
The film isn't as funny nor as gory as I had expected. Thinking about a
zom-rom-com I thought maybe there would be a bit more gore and humor.
But it's most played as people just trying to deal with unexplained
situation. It felt like a drama more than anything. But there are some
nice plays on the been there done that zombie genre. I guess I over
hyped myself because the film I wanted wasn't the film I got. For any
fan of the genre the tweaks in the zombie myths are cool. DeHaan,
Reilly and Shannon hold the film together each getting a good laugh out
Tags for Life After Beth Full Movie
, Dane DeHaan
, John C. Reilly
, Molly Shannon
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