Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Month of Horror Day 24: World War Z

Basement contributor Matt Bellamy has taken it upon himself to watch and review at least one horror movie a day for the month of October . . . because he's awesome that way! Tonight, Bellamy sets aside his book-versus-movie bias and tackles War and Peace . . . I mean War and Zombies . . . I mean . . .

What we have here is a zombie movie made for people who don't like zombies, that's about the best possible way I can sum it up. Don't like the slow moving, shambling walking dead? Not a fan of blood and gore? Would prefer pulse pounding action to being scared? This is the movie for you! What a slap in the face to people who love zombies and the horror genre in general and I find this to be a particularly offensive film given how strong the source material is. In case you weren't aware, this movie is based on a best selling novel written by Max Brooks and it's one of the greatest pieces of literature produced about the living dead. It's an "oral history" of the zombie apocalypse told through a series of interviews, essentially recounting all kinds of different events and stories that surrounded this pandemic that killed billions. It's a very refreshing take on a genre you'd have thought by now had been completely mined of original ideas!

What an incredible missed opportunity! Now, I know that I should look at this adaptation as a completely separate entity but it's called 'World War Z' and it's based on the book so, no, I can't do that. You may be able to, and all the power to you, but if it's not going to have anything at all to do with the novel, save for the title, then why even bother? This is just a big budget action movie starring an A-list actor (Brad Pitt) with "zombies" thrown in, mass marketed to make as much money as possible. There was no love here, no originality, and throughout every frame it felt like it was manufactured by a committee with zero personal touch added at all. It doesn't surprise me that the director, Marc Forster, had such a difficult time getting this to screen because I would believe it if the studio was breathing down his neck the entire time. I bet that any occasion where he wished to create something inventive, something interesting, there was a suit whispering in his ear that would say "No, don't do that, someone may not like it, you may offend someone". Forget that.

Garbage. For a horror movie, that is. Again, maybe you like action movies and on that level I suppose it's competently made and it does take place on a global scale so you get to see some interesting and attractive locales but it doesn't add up to anything. In the final act they attempt to ratchet up a bit of suspense but it's too little, too late, none of it has been earned. My dad might actually enjoy this flick, he absolutely loathes zombies as a "movie monster", and anyone else who feels that way will probably eat this up. If you respect the zombie sub-genre and have read the book then I just can't see any way how you could approve of this adaptation. Must have been quite the dump truck of cash backed up into Max Brooks' driveway, he ought to be ashamed of himself.

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