Movies: World War Z

I don't watch gory, mindless horror flicks. Which means I'm largely uninitiated in the zombie/vampire/werewolf genre of movie. Still, I've been known to make exceptions. Things with just a touch of horror, a suggestion of the horrific . . . Also, I've seen a lot of Brad Pitt movies. Some of those have been kind of horrible in another kind of way.

Anyway, I decided I'd give World War Z a try. Haven't read the book, though as I understand it, that's more of a collection of stories about this epidemic from various places and points of view, while the film version took one character (Gerry, a UN worker played by Pitt) and extended him into other plotlines from the book. The result is somewhat choppy as the script was forced to create a through line wherein Gerry is sent in search of a way to create some kind of vaccine or antidote or whatever for this terrible virus that's turning people into rabid corpses.

The globe-hopping tale see-saws between moments of what I presume are akin to many horror movies (people being chased, attacked, bitten by zombies; bloody battles against the undead; lots of gross makeup) and a kind of medical drama as Gerry hunts for a cure. There is cursory deductive reasoning involved, I suppose, but nothing very riveting or clever.

At the end of the day, I found myself only mildly interested in what was going on onscreen. Part of that is surely because I don't stomach the icky stuff so well, but just as much of my disinterest was based in the lack of pacing. With the big, scary zombie moments intercut with long, dramatic ones, World War Z is uneven. And even the triumphant moment failed to make my heart swell. (Note I was watching the unrated DVD cut, not the theatrical version.)

I did have to wonder, though, how difficult it was for some of those actors to play zombies. That's some hard work right there. Very physical roles. I'm thinking in particular of those who had more screen time and longer interactions than the hordes who zipped by and were hardly seen.

By the end of World War Z, I was simply relieved. Not that they'd made inroads in defeating the plague, but that the movie was over. And not because of the gross parts—they weren't so bad—but because I found the film exhausting. In an overlong car ride, are-we-done-yet? kind of way.

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