Life After Beth
The directorial debut of Jeff Baena, who co-wrote the brilliant, polarizing I Heart Huckabees (2004), Life After Beth is a terrific modern-day take on the classic "Monkey's Paw" story. It depends a great deal on its sly, sustained deadpan humor and weird comic detours. Some viewers may tire of repeated jokes like the fact that smooth jazz music tends to calm the zombies, or the full-sized oven strapped to a zombie's back during a long sequence. But these jokes are actually timed to escalate in funniness, rather than diminish. After going for a hike alone, Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is dead of a snakebite. Her boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) is having a difficult time dealing, and is spending extra time with her parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon).