Not much life in “Life After Beth”

A horror/romance/comedy that is neither scary, cute, or funny...


Life After Beth (2014)

Director: Jeff Baena
Writer: Jeff Baena
Starring: Aubrey PlazaDane DeHaanJohn C. Reilly



Life After Beth is a horror/romance/comedy that came out this year. It is about a young man named Zach (Dane DeHaan) who’s girlfriend, the titular Beth (Aubrey Plaza) dies. Lo and behold, however, she returns. But she is not quite the same as before…

Let me be blunt: this movie was literally painful to watch. There are few things worse than a film that tries to be funny and utterly fails. I cannot count the number of times while watching this that I felt “I can tell this is supposed to be funny here. The director intended for me to laugh at this part.” I did not laugh for the entire hour and a half. These scenes were just clumsy and awkward.

This is also supposed to be a romance, in other words cute and sweet. But that requires chemistry between the male and female leads, something which was sorely lacking. Aubrey Plaza’s character came off as bland and generic with little to no actual personality. And her acting in some scenes was abysmal, especially in any scene that required her to actually freak out and act like a dangerous dead person.

Lastly, the main reason you are likely at this site, this is intended to be a horror movie. Any part that could be horror related is also very awkward and clumsy. Later parts of the film take place during an actual zombie apocalypse but you seldom see any zombies as characters just stroll along, unarmed, without any sort of fear of being eaten. In fact, no one is actually eaten on camera. Off camera, two people are implied to have been eaten. That is all.

The gore effects, as limited as they were, were done well enough. But I do need to point out a scene that was just a slap in the face. There is a scene towards the end where a zombie is shot in the head and thrown down a hill. The camera angle then switches to about 100 feet away and you see the zombie tumble down. Well, if you keep conscious of what you are watching, you know that they just threw a mannequin down. Knowing it in the back of your mind is one thing. Seeing the leg of the mannequin fall off about 10 ft from the top as the rest of the thing continues its journey down? Well, that’s just lame.

Dane DeHaan’s acting is proficient enough for most scenes, although it is strange (having myself only seen him in Chronicle and Amazing Spider-Man 2, both roles villainous) to see him not cast as a creep. He does lose some skill in later scenes where I believe things just become too awkward and strange for even him to keep up with on an acting level.

Overall, I would highly recommend avoiding this movie. Save yourself some time and just go watch Warm Bodies if you really want a romantic zombie movie for some odd reason.

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