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'Life After Beth' movie review: Dead on arrival

Aubrey Plaza stars in

Aubrey Plaza stars in "Life After Beth." Photo Credit: A24 Films

As the zombie craze (hopefully) starts to make its welcome departure, the new dark comedy "Life After Beth" hits theaters feeling about as fresh as one of the walking dead.

"Life After Beth" is a slow trod, following Zach (Dane DeHaan), who is heartbroken and despondent after his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) dies. He finds solace in hanging out with Beth's parents Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon), until one day they cut off all communication with him.

It turns out their daughter has mysteriously returned from the grave and they're keeping it a secret from everyone, until Zach finds out and worms his way into seeing her. She has no memory of having died and her parents are none too interested in telling her. Beth seems fine at first, before she slowly begins to fester and turn into the zombie monster you all know and love.

It's a tough role for Plaza, one of the bright spots in the film. She unravels from a normal young woman into a gruesome beast, and she really gets down and dirty as zombie Beth.

But the movie fails in many ways -- it's dreadfully slow, its humor often doesn't work and the characters are completely unrealistic. There are family scenes where it seems as if each member of the family is in a different movie.

There is some much better zombie cinema in the world, so get you fix somewhere else.

Life After Beth

1.5 stars

Directed by Jeff Baena | Starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Molly Shannon | Rated R  | Playing at Angelika


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