It’s one of those periods where the flavour of the month is milked, so that the studios can cash in on their fame. First, we had wizards (thanks to Harry Potter), then there were Vampires (Twilight) and now we have zombies.
This should be no surprise, especially with the hit show, The Walking Dead, movies featuring the undead are coming thick and fast. And with Brad Pitt attached to one of them, its bound to get some hot press.
World War Z is based upon the book by Max Brooks, which follows the narrator traveling the globe, asking civilians about their accounts on the what, where, why, and how the zombie apocalypse started. The movie follows the same premise, as we get United Nations inspector Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), who as the world crumbles around him, has to find “patient zero” and a possible cure.
Leaving his family behind, Lane travels across the globe: from South Korea to Jerusalem to Wales in bid to save the world. The premise is good enough, in-fact it’s a solid piece, as everywhere Lane goes, the undead seem to march towards.
And here is where the film excels at: it’s the terror that space is running out, that you have no place to run and eventually you will be caught.
Director Marc Forster does brilliant with this focal point. When Lane and his family try to escape Philadelphia or when the zombies find their way over the walls of Jerusalem, the sheer weight of numbers is the most terrifying part. The same too, applies in an enclosed tight scene on a jumbo jet. When the jet is 15,000m up in the air and infested with zombies, where do you run?
The film though was harmed with production trouble that has plagued it from the beginning. The scars can be seen in the third act, which was written and re-shot again. Here, the thing fails and it becomes a low-key suspense-less piece of mumbo jumbo.
For 90 minutes the film had been building towards a cataclysmic ending; instead we’re left with Pitt stuck in a WHO center, tie-toeing away around zombies. Frustratingly, it’s that the film had to have “positive” ending: that while the war is beginning, there is hope etc.
Here it suffers, and loses its drive. For two thirds of the film, you were actually terrified that stuck in an enclosed cinema, you might be outrun with zombies. Sadly it limps out and you’ll be glad Pitt is there to save the day.