America really loves zombies, so much so we now have different kinds of zombies in movies. There are the originals which are slow and love chewing on flesh. Then in the Dawn of the Dead remake we got fast zombies. In 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later we got fast zombies that were essentially humans with rabies. The best part of this film is new type of zombie we get here. These zombies could care less about eating flesh, they simply want to bite people once and spread the virus in their blood. For a PG-13 rated zombie film it’s a real nice touch.
We follow Gerry(Brad Pitt) and his family, he used to work for the UN but decided to be a stay at home dad. Then as they try and drive through New York the end of the known world happens as they virus breaks out. The scenes in New York are intense and almost too real. In about seconds things fall apart, people run screaming in every direction, the zombies leap around, no fear or death or pain, they jump through windows and over each other just to bite any human they can find. Gerry takes his family to New Jersey and they have to hide out in apartment complex, these scenes are also intense, impressive with the lack of violence Marc Foster is able to push up the tension with silence or just leaving most scenes in darkness.
Eventually Gerry and his family are rescued by a friend of his at the UN. They are taken by helicopter to a battle ship where survivors are being taken. From there Gerry is given an ultimatum by the commanding officer, help lead a team to figure out what started this zombie horde or his family gets kicked off the ship. So obviously he agrees to go on the mission. This is kind of where the film starts to run out of gas. The film really hinges on Brad Pitt’s performance, you like him so much you can’t help but cheer him on. Mireille Enos(AMC’s The Killing) plays his wife and is also very impressive. Sadly once they are on the ship she is pushed into the back ground.
Gerry’s first stop is South Korea, he’s not there long before he heads to Israel to find out how they are fairing against the zombies. The movies plot moves so quickly but goes no where. Gerry moves from one action set piece to another without learning anything. Now the fall of Israel is an impressive scene. The one from the trailers where the zombies climb up each other like ants. The scenes are fantastic and frantic. The main issue is that the virus makes no sense and all the action scenes lead to nothing. Gerry learns nothing until he just randomly decides to find a medical facility. I won’t spoil how he comes up with a plan to defeat the zombies, it makes sense but it’s not very complicated and it makes everything that happens in Korea and Israel rather pointless.
The major issue with the film is the virus that is turning people into zombies. I just couldn’t get over the fact that in twelve seconds after being bit you turn into a zombie… That’s impossible. Then later the film just abandons this by having characters say they’ve seen people change in ten minutes and in some cases it took even longer. We never find out where the virus came from or how it spread world wide. The film just chooses to ignore all of this even though Gerry’s first mission is to find out these very things.
Brad Pitt helps make this movie work even though the third act can’t keep up with the first two and when the movie ends you kind of shrug and say “Okay, that was cool.” it really would have helped if the film was rated R. The tension worked really well early on in the film but if there was real danger in violence the movie might stand out more. Also one big battle sequence between soldiers and zombies would have been cool to see too. Over all the movie is a lot of fun and worth your time.