Continuing in watching 31 horror films in October, I watched I was a Teenage Zombie (1987) and Life After Beth (2014). I’m a fan of zombies so I figured why not check out these two very different films that both fall into the horror comedy genre. Unfortunately, I liked one far more than the other, but decided to give two mini reviews rather than two full length ones.
I was a Teenage Zombie Review
This film is on the Criterion Channel through Filmstruck and has more lowlights than highlights. However, the practical effects are pretty great especially one face ripoff sequence. The zombie in this movie isn’t the mindless monster looking to feed, and is instead fairly sentient and isn’t just looking to eat. The makeup of the undead isn’t very good and frankly is sillier than it is scary looking more like Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk.
The film is full of unknowns and this seems to be most of their only movies. In that way, a lot of the cliche acting choices can be overlooked and take it for the crazy film that it is. It should be noted that one of the zombie’s rapes and then kills a girl. The scene is uncomfortable and goes more so as appears that it’s supposed to be funny. There is a moment where the girl seems to not mind what’s happening to her until he starts to kill her.
It’s not a film I really recommend and definitely won’t be watching again. The humor in the film didn’t really work for me, but again the practical effects had some solid moments. The writing felt pretty weak and so was the acting. I was a Teenage Zombie earns the Not a Total Waste of Time rating.
Life After Beth
This zombie movie features a strong cast that I’m a fan of. Aubrey Plaza plays Beth who is killed off screen by a snake bite. Her father (John C. Riley) and mother (Molly Shannon) are left grieving, but her ex-boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) seems to be taking it the hardest. Especially when he see’s Beth walking through her house days after the funeral. It’s not a normal zombie film in that way as again, like in I was a Teenage Zombie, they are more sentient than traditional. Though, that doesn’t seem to last that long.
This is one of my favorite DeHaan performances though I think Michael Cera would have been better in this role. There are a lot of funny moments and one of the standouts is the relationship between Zach and his brother played by Matthew Gray Gubler. He’s a security guard for the housing community who has a definite inferiority complex and lashes out a lot. Not to take away from Plaza, Riley, or Shannon, but Paul Riser, who plays Zach’s dad, had a joke about the cost of his house that really had me laughing.
The film isn’t perfect, but it is definitely enjoyable. There are some funny performances and a premise that fits the horror comedy genre pretty well. Life After Beth earns the Decent Watch rating.