“Life After Beth” – Review By Zachary Marsh

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With a cast and a concept like the ones featured in “Life After Beth,” one would expect something kind of hilariously awesome, right?  Well, that’s not particularly what was delivered here.  “Life After Beth” stars Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, and many other recognizable faces that’ll surprise you.  The movie is about a girl named Beth (I guess the title spoiled that) who died, but then mysteriously comes back to life to her boyfriend Zach (what a good name) and parent’s surprise.  However Beth isn’t the same as she was when she was first alive, and pretty soon she starts changing into something sort of supernatural.  The problem that the movie possesses is that it doesn’t know what genre it wants to be.  Is it supposed to be a comedy with horror elements, or a horror with comedic elements?  Either way, the film feels very uneven.

Aside from a few clever jokes, the humor in this movie felt very dull and restrained.  The horror elements never feel smart or clever, and rather it just tries to go for the usual horror cliches that have been done so many times before.  This movie is kind of like an American version of “Shaun of the Dead” but without the heart and soul that that movie had.  I did like Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan’s performances, though, as they managed to bring something to their performances.  Plaza even manages to play a pretty good zombie when she’s fully transformed into the flesh-eating undead creature.  However, that doesn’t make up for the movie’s unbalanced script.

Some characters in this movie are written in one way, and then in the second half pull a complete 180 and turn into something that comes literally out of nowhere.  Not to mention, the ending out of the blue goes from this grim setting to a relatively happy one for no reason other than to have a happy ending.  This was writer/director John Baena’s first movie, and it clearly shows.  While there were things to like about “Life After Beth,” the negatives bring it down and make it just an average and forgettable horror-comedy.  If it was on cable one day and there was nothing else I was doing, then maybe I’d check it out.  Other than that, if this is something you really want to see, I’d say just wait for when it comes out on DVD or something.  Overall, “Life After Beth” is an average and disappointing movie with some solid performances and some decent jokes, but suffers from a jumbled script and a sense of confusion on the writer/director’s part.

 

OVERALL GRADE: 6/10

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