Okay, in all honesty, I have no defense over why I want to watch this movie aside from the fact that it have Dane DeHaan on it. And because maybe the promise of unconventional take on a human-zombie love story is kind of interesting. Either way, I’m in this for him.
Zach (Dane DeHaan) was devastated after his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) died when she went hiking alone. Haunted by regret, he wished that he could get a second chance to fix what went wrong between the two of them. But then Beth actually came back…
First of all, I can’t decide what this movie is supposed to be. It’s not a full-on comedy like Zombieland or Scouts Guide to Zombie Apocalypse, but is not an eclectic love story about non-human like Only Lovers Left Alive. Life After Beth aimed to be a crossover between the two, combining drama with comedy, but unfortunately fail on doing so. It sure started out on a high note, and I was curious about how Zach and Beth’s story would unfold. But then it started to stray off and after a while it was no longer interesting. Some of the jokes were absurdly funny, but not in the “fuuuckkkk that’s good!” way. Just in the “…what. WHAT.” way.
My biggest problem is not on the story development because, as absurd and stretched as it is, I would still be able to enjoy if it’s about two interesting people. Thing is, it wasn’t. Zach had a rather distinct introduction as this awkwardly withdrawn kid. But then there’s nothing remotely interesting or special about him aside from the fact that he is so deeply in love with Beth and was dangerously dependent on her. He’s the typical surly teenager that think himself and his significant other is the only two person that matters in the world. He’s angry at his family for no reason other than they irked him with their attempt to show affection – even if, admittedly, they were such annoying meddler – which made that sudden epiphany moment fell flat. And even Dane DeHaan’s heartbroken looks failed to convinced me that Zach’s family really meant that much for him. I mean, sure, I can relate to their awkward family relationship to some extent but… it still is not convincing enough. Beth, on the other hand, was downright insane. I understand that she just came back to life and her brain might be deteriorating or even rotting, but there is nothing endearing about her insanity. So much so I can’t fathom why the fuck would her parents still keep her and pretend nothing is wrong and why can’t Zach just break up with her for his own sake. DON’T YOU GUYS HAVE ANY SELF PRESERVATION?????
And then, of course, there’s the side plot about Zach and Erica. I honestly don’t feel their chemistry and don’t understand why Zach is interested on him aside from the fact that she is, well, alive and breathing. Although it is by no means Anna Kendrick’s fault. Her characters was set to be a typical teenage girl that was there for the sake of being Zach’s rebound. Which actually sent a wrong message because you don’t necessarily need a rebound to move on. You just need determination and the willingness to let go of the could’ve-should’ve-would’ve and all those what ifs. Seriously. Anyway. Aubrey Plaza was stellar as Beth, though. She was convincingly deranged that I feel no sense of empathy towards her and just want her to drop dead. Like, right now. Because seeing her running around making a mess is just tiring. Dane DeHaan is in his comfort zone as Zach and to be honest, the only thing that differentiate this character from his others such as Harry Osborn or Andrew or Lucien is that this time, he doesn’t go mad. Or turn evil. Aside from that, he’s on his usual charming but gawky and somewhat creepy character. As for the other characters, well, there really is nothing memorable about them and so I have no emotional investment for them.
In short, Life After Beth is not a movie that you should watch unless you’re a fan of Dane DeHaan or Aubrey Plaza. It is a movie that is so very teenagey in sense that it have no idea what it wants and aim to be everything at once. And fail at that. Maybe it wants to give a different take on zombie invasion, but the way it barely graze the whole “invasion” thing and focusing too much on Zach and Beth makes you doubt it. It was just unconvincing. But hey, moral of the story? Relationships always looks prettier than it actually is after you break up, but you do break up for a reason so just… move on with your life. Even when they come back for you. Especially if they come back from death.
Director: Jeff Baena. Writer: Jeff Baena. Released on: 15 july 2014. Casts: Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon.