Zombie movies used to reside strictly within the horror genre, and then Dan O’Bannon came along and revealed the comedic side of the genre with Return of the Living Dead. With Warm Bodies came the “romantic zombie comedy,” a microtrend that is being pushed forward with rampant glee by Jeff Baena in his directorial debut, Life After Beth. We now have our first good look at the film through two generic posters and a surprisingly enjoyable trailer, seen above.
I’m glad I’m married so that I don’t have to worry about random girlfriends turning into people-eating monsters. (Possibly not the only reason.) In Life After Beth, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) plays Zach, whose true love Beth (Parks & Rec‘s Aubrey Plaza) suddenly dies, leaving him to mope and sulk to his broken heart’s content. That is, until he discovers Beth’s grave has been desecrated and that her parents are hiding something. As you can imagine, that “something” is Beth herself, who has been miraculously revived in some way. At first, things are fine and dandy, as the couple goes back to doing the things they used to, with Zach poking fun at Beth about having zombie tendencies.
And then…she eats a guy. And it’s like she asks, what should we expect? “Zombies eat guys!” And that’s when the romance starts to, pardon the pun, die. I mean, who can blame Zach? He’s dealing with all kinds of shit, and having to cover up murders probably isn’t what he wants to do with the rest of his life.
Life After Beth features a stellar supporting cast, many of whom get a chance to shine in the trailer. Beth’s initially grateful parents are played by John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, and it’s a wonderful moment when they’re watching Beth and Zach make out for so long. Anna Kendrick plays one of Zach’s friends. Cheryl Hines and Paul Reiser also star.
I love Aubrey Plaza, and even though she’s great in casual comedies like The To-Do List, I’d much prefer to see her step outside her comfort zone a little more often. And watching her bleeding and screaming her heart out while chained to a washing machine is about as non-comfort-zone as it gets.
You can find Life After Beth in two ways over the next two months. It will be released exclusively on DirecTV on July 17, and will then go on a limited theatrical run on August 15. I smell a double feature with Zombeavers. And it smells good.