After the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth, a devastated Zach struggles to move on. He spends time with Beth’s parents Maury and Geenie until they stop taking his calls. When he goes to their house to check on them, he finds Beth is actually alive and doesn’t seem to remember ever dying. At first Zach is thrilled to have his girlfriend back, but it soon becomes increasingly clear that Beth is not the same… in fact, she’s turning into a full-fledged zombie.
You can tell that Life After Beth is a movie that wanted to find its place within the over-saturated (at the time) zombie genre. Like Warm Bodies (2013) before it, it takes young love and envelopes it within a world of the undead. But while love brings the undead back to life, Life After Beth shows what happens when love begins to die and you learn to say goodbye and move on. It’s a unique premise, one that starts off quite strong but loses steam before the final act.
Despite an impressive cast – John C. Reilly, Paul Reiser, Cheryl Hines, Molly Shannon – the entire movie is carried on the back of Aubrey Plaza as Beth. As Beth, Plaza shifts seamlessly from her trademark dry wit to frenzied, confusing anger, to soft and needy. She is easily the most captivating actor on screen as she begins to transform into the undead. As Zach, Dane DeHaan does his best to keep up with all of the talent surrounding him but he is easily the weakest part of the film. He has a few funny moments but Zach comes across as a bit of a wimp and I found myself somewhat bored when the movie focused solely on him. It was difficult to understand or care about Beth and Zach’s relationship because they felt so incompatible.
Life After Beth is not a total dud. Like I said, Plaza is fantastic and the movie is worth watching for her zombified performance alone. But there are some questions that never get answered, most notably, how and why Beth returns from the dead in the first place and sadly, it’s not as funny as it could have been, considering the premise. Worst of all, it never fully commits to the horror. This movie is rated R but I couldn’t quite figure out why. It’s fairly tame compared to other movies in the genre. If you’re a fan of Aubrey Plaza, give it a watch. If you’re just looking for a zombie romance, check out Warm Bodies instead.