World War Z wasn’t exactly an easy movie to call in advance based on the trailer, but by the time you make it through the first ten minutes of the DVD you’ll be hooked to the edge of your seat for one of the best zombie movies you’ll see in a while. It’s fast-paced, cleverly weighted and builds from a high intensity start to a tension packed finish that sees it all come to a head brilliantly under the grey skies of a Welsh dawn.
Zombie movies have been around for a long time with the likes of The Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead kicking the genre off in the 60s and 70s. However, one of its defining characteristics is a semi-inadvertent tongue-in-cheek quality that has gone on to inspire comedy equivalents like Shaun of the Dead, but in World War Z there is no comedy, there is not let up, there’s just a charging siege of zombie killing machines.
The film starts out with former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane, played by Brad Pitt (12 Years A Slave) as he wakes up with his wife and kids to start another day after leaving his more hectic previous lifestyle behind him. However, it doesn’t take long for their day to get sidetracked by the frightening zombie pandemic that sweeps the world at a furious pace, leaving Gerrie with no option but to put his old skills to good use.
It’s easy to pick holes in any storyline that features zombies and that isn’t necessarily any different with World War Z, however, that doesn’t take anything away from the brutal speed and nerve jangling development of Gerrie’s one man mission to save the world. Pitt carries off the role to near perfection making the close scrapes with the undead feel solid and his place as the planet’s single best hope of survival seem reasonable. Product placement low points aside it’s a gripping story that’s delivered well.
Brad Pitt’s performance aside, there are a few other actors that make the extreme storyline work thanks to their ability to ground the film in a feeling of reality. Gerrie’s wife is played convincingly by Mireille Enos, and Fana Makoena covers the political bases well as Thierry Umutoni, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, who sends Gerrie back into action to get some answers behind the mayhem.
However, it’s all supported by a terrifying portrayal of millions of zombies that made the film such a high impact blockbuster. As well as the sterling efforts of the extras to bring the intensity of the zombie attack to life there’s also some impressive special effects, which look scarily real.
If you’re a lover of the night, day or dawn of the undead in any way, or action sci-fi horrors in general this is a film that could get a good place in your DVD collection next to Aliens, 28 Days Later and 30 Days of Night. Whether you buy it or rent it, it’s worth World War Z has done what Zombi U has done for gaming; given zombies back their ability to shock and scare after a long time of comic sidelining.
The DVD also includes features on the origins of the zombie outbreak in the movie, as well as one on the science that does its best to prop it up for any serious zombie geeks out there.
World War Z DVD review: 4/5