Life After Beth
|Life After Beth|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jeff Baena|
|Produced by||Michael Zakin|
|Written by||Jeff Baena|
|Edited by||Colin Patton|
Life After Beth is a 2014 American zombie comedy film written and directed by Jeff Baena. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Molly Shannon, and John C. Reilly, with Anna Kendrick, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, and Matthew Gray Gubler in supporting roles. The film premiered in competition at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014, and was given a limited release on August 15, 2014. This was Garry Marshall's final film appearance.
After his girlfriend Beth Slocum dies, Zach Orfman is left devastated. He begins to spend time with Beth's parents Maury and Geenie as a source of comfort. Zach confesses to Maury that he and Beth were having problems in their relationship; Maury advises him not to let the end of the relationship define it.
The Slocums stop contacting Zach. Confused, he goes to their house and sees Beth through a window. Zach yells at the Slocums to let him in but his brother Kyle, a security officer, escorts him off the premises. At home, Zach's manic demeanor and strange comments that Beth is alive causes his parents, Judy and Noah, to worry. That night, Zach breaks in and discovers that Beth's parents have been hiding her. A heated argument ensues before Zach storms off. Later, he goes to Beth's grave and sees a large hole in its place. He confronts Geenie and Maury with this and they explain that, after the funeral, Beth suddenly reappeared, seemingly alive and well. Beth's parents are reluctant to let her leave the house, especially during daytime, and refuse to tell her that she died. When Zach takes Beth on a daytime date in the park, she gets blisters on her face, apparently from the sun. Maury bans Zach from the Slocum house and seeing Beth, but Zach continues to sneak in.
Zach starts to notice people around town acting similarly to Beth, who has grown increasingly violent and has mood swings; he also discovers smooth jazz can calm her down. He also notes that Beth and people like her are stronger now than when they were living humans. Needing a break from Beth, Zach goes to a diner. There, he sees an old childhood friend, Erica Wexler. She sits with him and she gives her condolences to him over Beth. After they finish their meal, Zach accidentally runs Beth over with his car. She is okay, but when people try and help her, she screams at them and scares them off. She even frightens Erica after thinking Zach has replaced her. Zach brings Beth to her grave and informs her of her death and resurrection, then tries to break up with her, only for her to angrily run off with his car. Zach walks home and discovers his family members shocked by the sudden reappearance of his dead grandfather. Maury picks up Zach and tells him that Beth is extremely upset, insisting that Zach tell her that he lied about her death and promise to be with her forever; Zach reluctantly agrees.
Zach's attempts to talk to Beth fail. When she eats a bystander, he drives away, with her in the car. Maury catches them, knocks Zach unconscious, and takes Beth. Once he has recovered, Zach heads home, and finds a stranger inside the house and burnt bodies in the backyard. Believing his family dead, Zach packs his bags, and prepares to leave the state. However, he changes his mind and drives back to the Slocum house.
He finds the house is in disarray, with Geenie and Beth in the kitchen. Tied to a stove, Beth has become a full-fledged, bloodthirsty zombie, having eaten Maury and bitten off Geenie's hand. Zach convinces Geenie to leave, then calms Beth by promising to hike with her like she always asked him to. They run into Kyle, who is hunting zombies. He reveals that their parents are still alive, having escaped to a safehouse. Kyle gives Zach his handgun, reminding him that Beth is suffering.
On their hike, Zach and Beth stop by a cliff. He tearfully apologizes to her for never doing the things she wanted when she was still alive. They say "I love you" to each other, and Zach shoots her in the head.
Zach is reunited with his family at the safehouse, along with a traumatized Erica, who was forced to kill her own grandmother. The survivors make plans to leave town but, suddenly, the power returns and a TV news story shows things going back to normal. Zach visits the graves of Beth and Maury, leaving Beth's scarf on her tombstone, and a knight chess piece on Maury's. Zach's mom picks him up in her car, with Erica in the backseat. Zach invites Erica for dinner and she accepts, smiling as they drive off.
- Aubrey Plaza as Beth Slocum
- Dane DeHaan as Zach Orfman
- John C. Reilly as Maury Slocum
- Molly Shannon as Geenie Slocum
- Cheryl Hines as Judy Orfman
- Paul Reiser as Noah Orfman
- Matthew Gray Gubler as Kyle Orfman
- Anna Kendrick as Erica Wexler
- Paul Weitz as Mr. Levin
- Alia Shawkat as Roz
- Adam Pally as Diner Sommelier
- Jim O'Heir as Chip the Mailman
- Garry Marshall as Grandpa Orfman
- Thomas McDonell as Dan
Life After Beth received mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 44% rating, with an average score of 5.34/10 based on 94 reviews. The site's consensus states, "In spite of Aubrey Plaza's committed performance, Life After Beth remains a sketch-worthy idea that's been uncomfortably stretched to feature length." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 50 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2014)
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