Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'World War Z' (2013)
... Not a horror movie.
World War Z is... not a horror movie. I'm a little more than disappointed here. This was an action movie, not a horror movie. Brad Pitt might as well have been fighting terrorists for all it would have changed about the plot. You could literally remake this movie with different costumes and that would be the only real change. The Zombies could be replaced by any generic threat. Terrorists or an invading army like Red Dawn. Shit, even if it was Aliens, it would be action, not horror. This could have been an episode of 24 or a new selection from the Born series. Making the zombie robots would change fuck-all about this movie...
Yeah it had horror elements, but so does Underworld, and let's face it, that's action, not horror. Horror requires a kind of tension, and a sense of uncertainty. It's the 'not knowing' that makes horror what it is. That's why horror movies which get too showy often suck. Jump scares aren't completely invalid, but you have to earn them through constant tension by leaving the audience guessing.
And for the most part, it was... okay? Not quite boring. It WAS engaging in sense of the word, but I wasn't exactly at the edge of my seat at any point.
I guess it's worth the watch if you're looking for an action flick, and it's not like running zombies don't represent a good action style antagonist. But here's what this movie was missing that cost it a title as a horror movie. It lacked the survival element of zombie survival. True, that's in the background somewhere, the idea that billions of people are trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, but they never really go into it. The whole thing mostly just gets glossed over. Zombie survival is about the human elements and what it costs to survival. It's about making it through the struggles, the real human struggles, on the brink of madness. It's about real loss and living with it. Hell, Brad Pitt's character saves his whole family halfway through the movie. In the remake of Dawn of the Dead they kill off the main character's whole family in the first fucking scene.
Zombie horror is about what people stoop to when their minds are pushed to the limit. It's about showing the one great moment of humanity among the harrowing nightmares we'll inflict on other people just to survive. There was almost none of that. Hell, people were pretty much willing to bend over backwards to help the hero, even to a point of insane self sacrifice. It just doesn't show the dirt under the fingernails the way other zombie movies do.
I don't know. For me, it was an all around disappointment. If you want zombie survival, you're going to have a bad time. If you want a nice action movie with zombies, you're going to enjoy it.
I just can't, can-fucking-not wrap my head around the fact that they couldn't figure out the zombies could be attracted to sound. These zombies aren't technically undead. They have a virus that acts more like rabies, and rather than shutting down the nervous system, it sort of excites it. So anyone with half a goddamn brain should have been able to figure out that the zombies could use their general sense including hearing. That should have been a fucking given.
I can't rightly decide if the way the male lead figures out how to hide from the zombies is deus ex machina. I mean, at some point, someone was going to notice the zombies don't attack the sick. For story purposes, having Brad Pitt notice was fine, I guess. But the 'viral camouflage' seemed a little far fetched anyway. So, you're telling me that the virus gifts the zombies with the special ability to tell if humans are sick with another virus? The idea of a virus that acts as quick as this does, and the science behind running zombies is all wrong anyway, but the movie wouldn't work without these things. So I guess being playful with the nature of the virus is fine as most horror requires at least that much suspension of disbelief.
Another thing that bothered me: How the fuck did a zombie get on the plane with the male lead? They turn almost instantly, and are by no means slow to act. There's no circumstance where one could have gotten aboard the airplane without someone noticing. The worst part is, they didn't need the scene. There were hundreds of ways to deliver Brad Pitt to the W.H.O. Because the scene is both forced and unnecessary, it just bothered the fuck out of me.
But again, it's an action movie. Suspend all disbelief and enjoy the ride.