Tuesday, 19 November 2013

World War Z (2013) - ★★

Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof (Screenplay), Max Brooks (Novel)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Peter Capaldi, Danielle Kertesz, Fana Mokoena, James Badge Dale

World War Z is one of the worst zombie films I've ever seen. Don't be fooled by the poster, the action isn't all THAT epic. It's a generic, unintelligent, disappointing addition to the zombie-movie genre. I hated the choppy cinematography, I hated the phoney 'loving family' angle, I hated the completely unrealistic coincidences, and I hated the way it took bits and pieces from other zombie movies and made them less interesting. The performances, the story, the special effects, and the action were just underwhelming to me. I wanted more depth, more reason... something different from every other zombie film. The only difference you'll find here is that there are more zombies, less scares, and a very unsatisfying experience.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is (or was) a United Nations employee. He and his family get caught in the middle of a zombie outbreak in New York. Where this outbreak started, or what it is, or how to cure it, is unknown. After many close-shaves, Gerry manages to make it to safety aboard a military ship. In order to keep his family safe, he must embark on a mission to find out where this outbreak started, and hopefully find a cure/solution.

First off: there are three things that scare the hell out of me. Demons, ghosts, and zombie's. World War Z made me scream once, and sit in anticipation for the rest of the film. Many of the 'scary' sequences were set-up in the same way that video games are. Creepy laboratory's, dark corridor's, apartment buildings, and the streets of big cities. The way it was filmed annoyed the hell out of me. It's almost always dark, the camera shakes to create a panicky atmosphere, and you hardly get a clear picture of what's happening. It just left me wanting more. I found myself waiting for that one 'epic' scene where the zombie's climb a giant wall... even that left me utterly disappointed.

Don't be fooled by the picture. It's not all that thrilling.
As for the zombies... they were just 'meh.' They act the same way as the infected in 28 Days Later, but they have a Dawn of the Dead / I Am Legend look about them. Many of the zombies were just tacky and unconvincing CGI. From a distance, when you see huge crowds of them, it looked pretty cool. Up close, it screamed "fake" to me. I'm not a huge fan of the 'undead' angle they went for too. World War Z preaches a bunch of sciency stuff, as if there's an actual virus/infection to these creatures. Then we're told that they're not alive, but undead people wreaking havoc on the world. Without a circulatory system to pump blood to the brain, or muscles... how do they function? This is a question that begs to be asked... and it's an entirely reasonable thing to ask seeing as this film insinuates that there's a logical explanation for it all. Dawn of the Dead, and films of that nature, don't try to explain this because they don't need to (it's irrelevant to their hellish/supernatural storyline). Since this is supposed to be a more logical, reasonable film, then I can only hope that they try to fix that plot-hole for me.

As with many horror films, there's a strong family sub-plot thrown in the fray. Gerry loves his wife and two kids, which is the first thing they cover when the film actually starts. I wouldn't have minded this, had they just executed it in a way that wasn't so forced. It was so tacky... not once did I believe that they were a loving, happy family. They seemed like actors acting, which destroyed my chances of forming a bond with the characters. On top of that, there is little to no character development throughout the whole film. It's a basic ingredient that almost all great horror movies contain, from Alien to Ringu. Of course I wanted Gerry to succeed with finding an answer to all these questions... but I couldn't have cared less if he or his family lived through it all.

I can't really compliment this film on anything. It's far from the worst horror movie I've ever seen, but it doesn't come close to being a good movie. If it had more depth, or scarier sequences, or more explanations, then I might have liked it. Even then, I still wouldn't call it a great film. It took many of the great aspects from other zombie films, but didn't come close to their quality of horror or intelligence. I know many who really like this film. Some even call it 'perfect.' I, on the other hand, was left unsatisfied... and a little bit angry. I don't hate this film, but I wouldn't even put it in the same league as other great zombie flicks.


  1. Reviewed this recently, didn't really like it to be honest, too unoriginal and predictable.