Aubrey Plaza, it’s your fault I watched this movie. You and Anna Kendrick. What is the deal with you two? Voodoo? And I know for a fact I’m not the only one who can’t resist either of these women, let alone both of them. Add zombies, romance and Paul Reiser (?!)… I didn’t have a chance.
The lovely Ms. Plaza plays title character Beth Slocum, who has tragically met her untimely death after being bitten by a snake while hiking. Her boyfriend, Zach Orfman (Dane DeHaan), is naturally devastated, despite the fact that the couple was having some troubles before her demise.
After spending time with Beth’s family, mourning and connecting in their shared grief, Zach is suddenly cut off from and ignored by the Slocums. When Zach believes he sees Beth through a window in her family’s home, he visits her grave only to find it empty, and in fact wide open, like someone has dug and crawled their way out of it. Returning to the Slocums’ residence, he finds her ‘alive’ and well, and very happy to see him. Thing is, she has no memory of dying, and her parents insist on keeping it that way by ensuring she remains hidden from the rest of the town.
But, as always, no one returns from the grave the same as before they went in, and as Beth full-on zombifies, becoming more and more aggressive and, well, disgusting, her and Zach’s relationship once again takes a turn for the worst. And it turns out it isn’t just Beth who’s made a come back from the cemetery.
Life After Beth is oddly endearing, emphasizing that uncontrollable and be all/end all sensation of first love, but it’s also very clever and disturbing. It’s its own brand of zombie film. It takes the everyday to a level of disbelief and brings the ridiculous down to ground-level normalcy. If that doesn’t make much sense, let me give an example: There’s a scene where Beth is crushed by a vehicle after getting jealous that Zach has spoken to another girl, and as she stands in front of him decomposing, with tire marks all over her cute polka dot dress, the fact that she’s dead and rotting becomes secondary to her teenag’e jealousy and the feeling I’m sure we’ve all felt when our lover’s loyalty comes into question. It’s a brilliant little scene, my favourite in the film.
I watched this film on a whim, it was a random Netflix selection, but I did intend to watch it when it came out last year. It met my mid-level expectations and I enjoyed it for what it is. And not only because of Aubrey and Anna, but probably mostly. Voodoo, I swear.