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Film / Life After Beth

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Life After Beth is a 2014 "Rom-Zom-Com" movie written and directed by Jeff Baena, starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Molly Shannon, and John C. Reilly.

While hiking in the mountains, Beth Slocum (Plaza) gets bitten by a venomous snake and dies, leaving her ex-boyfriend Zach Orfman (DeHaan) devastated. Zach starts spending time with Beth's parents Maury (Reilly) and Geenie (Shannon), up until the moment where they suddenly start shunning him. Curious, he comes to their home uninvited, only to find them in company of... a very much alive Beth, who seems to have forgotten the last few weeks of her previous life, which include not only her death, but also her breakup with Zach.

Delighted, Zach sees this as a second chance for his relationship with Beth, but he soon realizes that his girlfriend Came Back Wrong, and she keeps getting worse...

This film contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Beth becomes this to Zach in the second half of the movie.
  • Attractive Zombie: Beth is this at first; however, she gradually turns into the usual Romero-escue carnivorous zombie.
  • Came Back Wrong: Beth starts out as a Damaged Soul and slowly transitions into a Monster from Beyond the Veil as the movie progresses.
  • Covert Pervert: Maury Slocum is revealed to be one shorty before he bites the dust.
  • Dying as Yourself: Before shooting a feral, growling Beth, Zach tells her he loves her. She manages to answer that she loves him too in her human voice.
  • Epunymous Title: Life After Beth puns on "life after death", as it stars a zombie named Beth.
  • Excuse Plot: The zombie apocalypse that brings Beth back doesn't have much bearing on the rest of the movie, and ends up resolving itself by the end after appearing to only affect a local community.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Beth, who was already not herself up until that point, does not take the revelation that she's a zombie lightly: she assaults Zach, steals and crashes his car, and later on starts mumbling a Madness Mantra and kills a guy.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
  • The Jaywalking Dead: Zach accidentally runs over Beth with his car. She doesn't seem to be worse-for-wear after the accident.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Beth comes back with most of her more recent memories missing. She isn't aware of her own death and has also forgotten that she and Zach broke up right before it happened.
  • Madness Mantra: After Beth is told she's a zombie, she spends several scenes continuously mumbling "I'm dead, I'm alive, I'm dead, I'm alive..."
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Zach, who has spent the last few days with an increasingly zombified Beth, finds himself marveling at Erica's normal skin, and asks if she's noticed the recent phenomenon of the dead returning to life. Erica clearly thinks he's flirting with her and gets increasingly enamored as the conversation continues.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: In this movie, zombies start out with their human personalities, but as their brains decay, they become first absent-minded and forgetful, then increasingly erratic and aggressive, and only after a certain point do they finally become the familiar growling zombies we know and love. They also have a bizarre fondness for attics, and for some reason, packing the walls in the attics with dirt, and smooth jazz calms them down. And the biggest difference, which could play a part in how quickly this particular Zombie Apocalypse is dealt with: they are not contagious. It's just everyone who recently died comes back as zombies in the area.
  • Patricide: Beth ends up eating her own father.
  • Red Herring: The Slocums' Haitian housekeeper quit her job just before the dead started to rise, so Zach suspects she was involved, and becomes more suspicious when Maury refuses to give him her address. It turns out that she left due to Maury's sexual harassment and the timing was coincidental - while no other explanation is found, Hollywood Voodoo doesn't seem to have been a factor
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Due to the zombies' appreciation of smooth jazz, it starts playing pretty much everywhere at some point. Some of the more gruesome scenes in the movie are set to it.
  • Weirdness Censor: Even as more and more people begin behaving strangely around him, Zack is the only one who seems to notice any of it.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: It starts without any explanation, appears to be a localized one, and is quickly dealt with.