Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, David Morse, James Badge Dale
ZOMBIE movies have always been the joke card of the horror movie genre.
Made on slim-pickings budgets, starring creatures that are sort of dead but not really, and with plenty of camera zoomings-in on maggot-infested eyes and partially severed limbs, the zombie flick is just ripe for taking the mick out of, as Simon Pegg did so brilliantly in the 2004 farce Shaun Of The Dead.
But think on. World War Z is not only a multi-million dollar blockbuster with one of Hollywood’s biggest superstars at the helm, it’s also — reportedly — an intelligent zombie movie.
The film is based on a novel by Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, about a decade-long zombie war. In this movie, the clusters of undead that usually emerge in dribs and drabs from graveyards or dilapidated warehouses have morphed and grown and expanded so that practically every corner of the Earth is infested with crowds of them so huge they resemble swarms of rats.
Brad Pitt, also the executive producer, plays Gerry Lane, a United Nations inspector who is persuaded to come out of early retirement to lead the humans in war against them.
He leaves his wife, Karin (played by Mireille Enos of TV series The Killing) with their two daughters in a US warship in the Atlantic while he jets around the world — from South Korea to Israel to a World Health Organisation centre in Wales — to do battle.
Millions of people die in this movie, but hardly a drop of blood is to be seen. Unlike most films in this genre, there are no gory close-ups.
Instead, the horror is built up by the sheer scale of the zombie epidemic and the fact that the actors themselves generate the fear.
It has received good reviews as the best summer blockbuster so far, but zombie purists may come away a tad disappointed.