World War Z

Scene from the movie World War Z

Courtesy Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions

Zombies go to War
World War Z

Movie review by Sarah Herrin | published July 10, 2013 |
Thursday Review Contributing Writer

I have been a fan of zombie movies since George Romero’s "of the Dead" series to the forward thinking "28 Days Later" to the hilariously modern "Zombieland," so while I was looking forward to "World War Z," I didn't let my hopes get too high. I was, however, pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be the best damn zombie movie I'd seen in a long time.

The story started out innocently enough. On a sunny weekday morning, Gerry's (Brad Pitt) young daughters bounce laughing into bed with he and his wife before the family tumbles downstairs to have pancakes—not a single grumpy bedhead in sight. Something military plays on the News and the youngest daughter mentions "Daddy's old job," to which he replies to the tone of "I'm done with that," giving us the impression that he has some ghosts in his pasts.

No one has a life this perfect," I think, and then the kids run out the door and Gerry yells after them "Dishes in the sink!" The epitome of the all-American family carpools to school and work and abruptly gets caught in a massive traffic jam. People are getting out of their cars, yelling at each other while military helicopters are buzzing inexplicably in downtown New Jersey. Shit is going down. A cop tells Gerry to get back in his car and two seconds later the policeman is mowed down by a heavy duty truck. Our first undead has made his entrance. The scene falls into chaos from there as our protagonist witnesses a zombie attack a human, then watches the human turn.

What we know from the previews is that, because of his military connections, Gerry and his family are taken to safety on a Navy ship somewhere outside the Bermuda triangle; however, to justify his family staying on the ship, Gerry must lead a key scientist and a team of soldiers onto the battle field (which is the entire planet, by the way) to collect evidence and clues to stopping the spread of the disease. The film is like “28 Days Later” in its definition and display of the zombie “virus” and the involvement of the military, but it’s a fresh enough take that it still seems interesting.

The pacing of the script as Gerry navigates from danger to temporary safety to danger again is deliciously tantalizing. I found myself feeling anxiety for him and his team during the suspenseful scenes and relief when he had once again narrowly escaped with his life. (The lab scene towards the end is intense.) It’s a constantly moving plot with likeable characters—especially that cool Israeli chick—and it delivers exactly what we crave in a horror film: a chance to experience the rush of adrenaline and the thrill of survival without ever truly being in harm’s way. This movie may not have the most original protagonist or a completely unique plot, but it has some sick zombies and is definitely a fun ride in the cool AC. What more could you ask for in a summer flick? Go see it.