Life After Beth is a 2014 American zombie comedy film written and directed by Jeff Baena. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, and John C. Reilly. The film premiered in competition at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014, given a limited release on August 15, 2014.
After his girlfriend Beth dies from a snake bite while on a hike, Zach is devastated. After Beth's funeral, Zach begins to spend time with Beth's parents Maury and Geenie as a source of comfort. One day, while playing chess and smoking marijuana with Maury, Zach reveals that he and Beth were having problems in their relationship and that she had expressed desire to see other people in the days before she died. Zach feels remorse and guilt due to the fact that he never did any of the things Beth wanted to do.
One day, Maury and Geenie stop answering the door and block his phone calls, which upsets and confuses Zach. Later, while looking through the window, he sees Beth. He attempts to break in, but her parents call Zach's older brother Kyle, who is a security officer and Zach is forced to leave. The next day, he goes to Beth's grave and sees that there is a large hole. He returns to Beth's house and successfully enters and discovers that Beth's parents had been hiding her. Her parents explain that soon after the funeral Beth suddenly appeared and aside from having no memory of the past week, appears and sounds completely normal.
Beth and Zach go to the attic of her house where they have an emotional conversation about their relationship. Though still confused about the situation, Zach is thrilled that she is back and promises to go hiking with her like she always wanted. They decide to go on a hike, but Maury and Geenie convince them to stay in the house since they are scared that people will see her. Zach is able to eventually convince Beth's parents to let them go outside, and he and Beth go to a park where they have sex.
As time goes on, Zach notices that people around town are acting strangely and similar to Beth, who has grown increasingly violent and has mood swings. He is now growing tired of Beth and cannot handle her violent tendencies, especially after she flies into a violent and jealous rage when she sees him having lunch with his childhood friend Erica. Zach tells Beth that she died and somehow came back, she doesn't believe him until he takes her to her grave. While at the gravesite, Zach attempts to break up with Beth, but she grows angry and steals his car. After Zach walks home, he discovers that his dead grandfather is also resurrected, as well as the previous owners of his house. Maury picks up Zach and tells him that Beth is extremely upset and that he must tell her that he lied about her death and to promise to be with her forever. Zach initially refuses, but relents after Maury agrees to call his former housekeeper, who is Haitian, to see if she has any information about the events surrounding them. Zach attempts to talk to Beth, but after she eats a neighbor, he drives away with her in the car.
He goes to Beth's housekeeper's apartment, where he is told that it is offensive that he would assume that she knows something about zombies just because she is Haitian and is told to leave. Maury appears, knocks Zach out, and takes Beth. After Zach wakes up, he goes to his house to look for his family, but instead sees a stranger in his house along with burned bodies. Assuming that his entire family is dead, Zach packs a bag and prepares to leave the state. As he's leaving, he drives past the park where he and Beth had sex soon after their reunion and he instead turns around and goes to Beth's house. He discovers that she is now a full-fledged zombie that has eaten her father and has been tied to a stove by her mother because she can no longer control her. Zach convinces her mother to leave assuring her that he will take care of Beth. He calms Beth down by telling her that he will finally go on a hike with her. As they're walking out of the house, they run into Kyle, who reveals that Zach's family escaped and are in a safe house. Kyle attempts to shoot Beth, but Zach protects her. Kyle agrees to let them escape, but tells Zach that he has to let Beth go and gives him his gun.
Beth and Zach go on a hike and when they stop to look at the view, Zach begins to cry and apologizes to Beth for never wanting to go hiking with her or go dancing like she always wanted. He tells her that he's happy that she came back and that he will always love her. They say "I love you" to each other and, while Beth is looking away, Zach shoots her in the head. Zach goes to the safe house, where he finds his family, along with Erica. They begin to make plans to escape, but see a news story reporting that things appear to be slowly going back to normal.
Some time later, Zach visits Beth and Maury's graves one final time. He leaves Beth's scarf, which he kept after her death, on her tombstone, along with a knight chess piece on her father's tombstone. Later Zach asks Erica if she would like to get dinner with him.
- Aubrey Plaza as Beth Slocum
- Dane DeHaan as Zach Orfman
- Molly Shannon as Geenie Slocum
- Cheryl Hines as Judy Orfman
- Paul Reiser as Noah Orfman
- Matthew Gray Gubler as Kyle Orfman
- John C. Reilly as Maury Slocum
- Anna Kendrick as Erica Wexler
- Paul Weitz as Mr. Levin
- Alia Shawkat as Roz
- Adam Pally as Diner Sommelier
- Jim O'Heir as Chip the Mailman
- Garry Marshall as Grandpa Orfman
Principal photography began July 8, 2013 in Los Angeles and concluded on August 6, 2013 in Los Angeles.
Critical response Edit
Life After Beth received mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 40% rating, with an average score of 5.2 out of 10 based on 63 reviews. The site's consensus states, "In spite of Aubrey Plaza's committed performance, Life After Beth remains a sketch-worthy idea that's been uncomfortably stretched to feature length." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 50 out of 100 based on 29 reviews, indicating "mixed or average".