Overdone though the premise may be, a zombie apocalypse film is still a sure-fire way to hit the box office. But has the Brad Pitt-starring World War Z hit the mark this time around? Well, it may seem like just be another zombie film, but this one is actually aiming for a different mark altogether. The film has a relatively unknown supporting cast, with short lived cameos by The Pacific’s James Badge Dale and Lost’s Matthew Fox. It really is just the infallible Brad Pitt carrying the entirety of the film. The lack of other A-grade actors makes a refreshing change.
The approach to the concept is unique. Pitt plays Gerry, a UN investigator sent around various parts of the world to find out where and how the epidemic originated. Instead of focusing on one part or place, the film is completely mobile, allowing us to see how far the crisis has spread – from the States to South Korea to Israel to Wales. The film therefore has a broad appeal, with a little bit of contemporary world politics thrown in to make for some interesting zombie defence mechanisms. The logic behind it all is clever and well thought out. It makes you wonder if this is how the UN and world governments would really handle a zombie apocalypse. Gerry’s family are almost held for ransom on a US navy carrier to make sure he does his job – and thank God they are, because his wife and kids are the stereotypical annoying, screaming, inconvenient damsels in distress. A notable mention goes to Gerry’s female sidekick Segen, an Israeli soldier played by Daniella Kertesz who helps out with some kick-ass moves.
In the technicality of the different types of zombies, this film doesn’t go too far into detail. They’re plain and simple zombies, whose bite transfers the undead ‘virus’ but not their bodily fluids. They sprint and climb well and are fascinatingly dormant until noise alerts them. The make-up artistry and CGI of the zombies have been executed remarkably well and don’t look too tacky or unbelievable. The hoard scenes that littered the majority of the trailers are highly realistic and there is little direct gore shown at all, which to some viewers might be a little disappointing, but it shows a different side to the genre. You don’t necessarily need the blood and gore to make a successful zombie film.
World War Z is definitely a stressful film. But stressful in the way of intense, nail-biting scenes and a handful of jump scares thrown in. Don’t clutch your drink or popcorn too tightly and be careful not to bite your tongue or poke yourself in the eye. The zombies aren’t particularly terrifying, but the sheer magnitude of the hoard scenes remind us of the reality of the world’s population – and pose the question of what we might do in the same situation. Mild spoiler warning: though this is a fast-paced action thriller that barely stops, when it does stop it gives you quite a scare – and leaves you feeling quite disappointed at such an abrupt conclusion. You almost expect more. But for its unique approach, it is a much welcome addition to the genre. Just ignore the pretentious opening and closing credits.