“Life After Beth” seeks to use the quickly tiring Zombie subgenre and give it a new spin. I wouldn’t say its equal parts life lessons, horror, and comedy as it very much feels off-balance much of the time. What I will say it does well is make the viewer think about regret and taking the opportunity every day to let people in your life know what they mean to you.
Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is shuffled off this mortal coil by a deadly snakebite. Her boyfriend, Zach (Dane DeHaan), is devastated by her death and by all the things left unsaid and done in their relationship. He’s miraculously given the opportunity to make up for all his regrets when Beth shows up at home after digging herself out of her own grave. While at first relieved to have her back, Zach soon discovers nothings perfect or will ever be the same. Beth now has a taste for human flesh and a furious habit of lashing out violently when things don’t go her way. Relationship issues can be hard to deal with between a boy and his undead girlfriend.
“Life After Beth” is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen. The video is easy on the eyes by through its clarity and clean picture. The camerawork and color tones very much give the movie a bleak and dark atmosphere of depression and melancholy.
The audio for “Life After Beth” puts the home viewer in the center of all the action, romance, and chaos which unfolds onscreen. This is accomplished through its English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The audience is bombarded by crescendos of the serene and sometimes bombastic musical score. Explosions and lots of growling and yelling from zombies also contribute to an exciting and unsettling experience.
The Blu-ray edition of “Life After Beth” comes with some solid bonus material. While there’s not as much here as many would like, it does feature audio commentary with Writer/Director Jeff Baena and actors Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, and Matthew Gray Gubler. A featurette entitled “Life After Beth: The Postmortem” explores the movie through interviews with the cast and crew. Deleted scenes are also available.
“Life After Beth” is rated R for pervasive language, some horror violence, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use. The nudity comes completely out of left field and really is unnecessary. The entire scene could’ve been cut out of the film and never missed as it contributes nothing to the storyline at all. There’s some gore, but I consider it no more intense than the PG-13 rated “Warm Bodies.” The sexual content boils down to a couple rather explicit love scenes and intense pawing of each other by the two leads.
Imagine “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “Warm Bodies” if they took the darker aspects of the walking dead even further into bleak psychological territory. “Life After Beth” is an independent filmmaker’s personal and sensitive look into the world George Romero fashioned with “Night of the Living Dead.” Instead of using the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse as a way to comment on the terrible state of social upheaval we’re in, this movie uses the concept to explore more intimate individual issues.
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