Review: “World War Z” is scary without all the gore

June 21st, 2013 at 6:58 am by under Entertainment
"World War Z" poster courtesy Paramount Pictures

“World War Z” poster courtesy Paramount Pictures

“World War Z” (2013)
Rated: PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images
Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Genre: Action/Drama/Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller

My spoiler-free review:

“World War Z” is intense, immersive, scary but not brainless (pun intended), one of the best zombie movie I’ve ever seen**I give it 8.5 out of 10.

Warning to parents: note that the movie is rated PG-13 for “intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images” – some of the images will invoke nightmares for many kids plus there’s an overwhelming theme of death and destruction!

**Those asterisks are because I haven’t seen a lot of zombie movies, because frankly, its not a genre of movies I enjoy.  I respect the classic, George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1698), but I’ve only seen a few others and most bothered me for many different/typical reasons I don’t like horror movies in general.  They are either predictable, too much gore, or they’re all just one “I wouldn’t do that” moment after another for the audience.

So “World War Z” is different for me because the storyline plays as much like a mystery/thriller as it does a horror movie… Brad Pitt (Gerry Lane) is first swept up in the zombie-pocalypse then sets out to find out how it started in order to find a solution.  Its epic, yet small… we know that its a worldwide epidemic, but we are focused on a few people – mostly Gerry’s family and the people he encounters along the way.  We get a great performance from Pitt in the lead role, plus Mireille Enos as his wife and decent acting from their daughters Sterling Jerins and Abigail Hargrove.

There’s some solid small roles from David Morse, David Andrews, Pierfrancesco Favino, Ludi Boeken that really build up the movie’s strength – its character development.  For me, character development is critical in this genre – since the biggest goal for the character’s is to survive… and if you aren’t invested in the characters, their survival/death is not important.

For all the movies I’ve seen… I can’t say enough about the fact that it only takes about 5 minutes to set the stage and introduce our main characters before “World War Z” jumps right into the action.  Its also a smart movie, its not overly scientific but it will have you playing “detective” right along with Gerry.  Its has the feel of “Contagion”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, and “I Am Legend”… without copying from them.  There’s also several small bits of comic relief to break us from the intense life or death situations that are going on in the movie.  Unlike other horror movies that have turned me away from the genre, “World War Z” is not strictly about trying to scare or gross out the audience, its about the audience immersing themselves in this very relatable movie that is one cliffhanger after another.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):

“World War Z” 

Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Fana Mokoena, Sterling Jerins, Abigail Hargrove, Fabrizio Zacharee Guido, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, David Morse, Elyes Gabel, David Andrews

Director: Marc Forster  ["Machine Gun Preacher" (2011), "Quantum of Solace" (2008), "Stranger Than Fiction" (2006), "Finding Neverland" (2004), "Monster's Ball" (2001)]

Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, J. Michael Straczynski

Other info: based on the 2006 novel by Max Brooks (World War Z)

The Plot: United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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