"Look, I know you're upset that I haven't returned your Parks & Recreation Season One DVD, but there's no need to get all extreme about this!" Zach (Dane DeHaan) tries to talk to his re-animated girlfriend Beth Slocum (Aubrey Plaza) in a scene from writer-director Jeff Baena's romantic comedy LIFE AFTER BETH. CREDIT: © 2014 A24 Films. All Rights Reserved.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Molly Shannon, Matthew Gray Gubler and Anna Kendrick

WRITER(S): Jeff Baena

DIRECTOR(S): Jeff Baena


60 SECOND PLOT SYNOPSIS (OR AS CLOSE TO IT AS ONE CAN TRY TO MAKE): Zach (Dane DeHaan) loves his girlfriend Beth Slocumb (Aubrey Plaza). That's why he is so devastated when she unexpectedly dies after a hike. Hanging out with Beth's dad Maury (John C. O'Reilly) after she's buried, Zach is essentially inconsolable – nothing Beth's mom (Molly Shannon), his own dad (Paul Reiser), mother (Cheryl Hines) or police officer brother (Matthew Gray Gubler) helps.

That all changes when, after heading over to the Slocumb's house one day after thinking that Beth's parents are starting to avoid him, Zach sees his lady love inside the house.

After initially trying to deny what has happened – Beth has apparently dug herself out of her own grave and remembers nothing of her own death – her parents agree to let Zach see her as long as he (1) tells no one (2) does not tell her she died and (3) doesn't try to take her out of the house. And at first glance, Beth – who can walk, talk and make out at every turn, seems to be the same (more or less) as Zach remembered if not better.

But once he notices she's not quite the same as she used to be (her newfound strength and love of smooth jazz among the factors), Zach starts to re-evaluate his relationship ... And just about everything he thinks he knows about love and what the idea of being "together forever" really means.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST?: Aubrey Plaza fans, John C. Reilly fans, fans of Dane DeHaan who have been waiting for him to have a solo role

WHO WON'T – OR SHOULDN'T – LIKE THIS FILM?: Traditional zombie movie fans, fans of romantic zombie movies (there has been more than one in various capacity), fans of movies with that fit into a more defined genre

FINAL VERDICT – IS IT GOOD, GREAT, BAD OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? It's ... Different. And as is often the case, different doesn't often mean good or bad, it just means exactly that: Different.

The good thing about Life After Beth is exactly the thing that is also somewhat not great about it: It's quirky. Not Shaun of the Dead quirky, just quirky. It's got some humor. Not Zombieland level humor, just humor. There's romance ... But it's definitely not Warm Bodies style-romance. And it's got zombies ... Kind of. This is about as far removed as you could get from The Walking Dead and anything George A. Romero as you can get.

No, Life After Beth is kind of a hodge-podge of quirky humor, a quirky boy-loses-girl-gets-girl-back-and-then-realizes-things-may-not-be-as-ideal-as-he-would-like-since-she's-supposed-to-be-dead-and-buried not-quite a romantic comedy comedy. When it goes for a laugh, it goes for a laugh – often at Zach's expense.

DeHaan is essentially the straight man for everyone else's joke, be it his brother pointing out how much of a punk he is acting like, O'Reilly attempting to lay down the law or Plaza basically making him fawn over her and then scaring the bejesus out of him from one moment to the next. DeHaan's character is a one half lovelorn fool and one half teenage loser, which in turn makes it a bit hard to root for or against him. He's almost a real-life Charlie Brown, albeit one who got the girl but now doesn't know what to do now that she's returned from the dead.

Funny as it may (or may not in terms of watching) as it may seem, the film never really goes into why DeHaan's character is so head over heels in love with Beth and or why they were together in the first place. What it does do well, however, is keep things off-kilter so that it's unpredictable and not stagnant. Then again, writer/director Jeff Baena kind of really never picks a lane for Beth to stay in, so it is kind of a potluck flick with some zombie elements. It's not about zombies, it's not about love; it's moreso just about one boy trying to deal with something he is unprepared to handle. And there are times where that seems like a metaphor for a film that started out with a great idea ... And then faded a bit by the time it was made into a full-length feature.

But given it's quirky (that's really the best word for it) nature, don't be surprised if the Life After Beth finds a second life as a cult classic on DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming online in the future.



  1. Mary Kom 2014, Story: A chronicle of the life of Indian boxer MARI KOM, who went through several hardships before audaciously accomplishing her ultimate dream. Category : Biography, Drama, Sport, Director : Omung Kumar, Writer : Saiwyn Qadras (story), Ramendra Vasishth (dialogue), Actors : Priyanka Chopra, Zachary Coffin, Darshan Kumaar, Shishir Sharma, Released Date : 05 Sep 2014


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