DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Jeff Baena
Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly
Writing Credits:
Jeff Baena

A young man's recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.

Box Office:
$2.4 million.
Opening Weekend
$15,843 on 2 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 10/21/2014

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Jeff Baena and Actors Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan and Matthew Gubler
• “Post Mortem” Featurette
• 10 Deleted Scenes
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Life After Beth [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 12, 2023)

Given its title, one might expect 2014’s Life After Beth to offer an examination of loss. And one would anticipate correctly, but the film comes with a major twist.

During a hike, Beth Slocum (Aubrey Plaza) gets bitten by a snake and dies. Naturally, this leaves her family and friends distraught.

Beth’s boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) attempts to work through his grief via a partnership with her parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon) but after an intimate start, they maintain an oddly distant attitude. It turns out they stay at arm’s length because Beth returned as a zombie and they want to keep this a secret.

Even by 2014, the trend of zombie projects threatened to reach critical mass. As such, Beth needed to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Going into Life, we find two clear positives. For one, it delivers an excellent cast.

In addition to Plaza, DeHaan, Reilly an Shannon, we find Paul Reiser, Cheryl Hines, Anna Kendrick and other notables. That becomes a shockingly strong group for a micro-budgeted flick like this.

Also, it manages a clever premise – well, reasonably clever at least. Other flicks like 2013’s Warm Bodies bring not-dissimilar mixes of romance, comedy and horror, so Life doesn’t stand as unique.

Still, Life comes with its own approach and manages to follow a particular path. While not wholly original, at least the film attempts to pursue its quirky desires.

Despite these positives, I can’t claim to find Life to deliver a film that qualifies as better than okay. While the movie manages moderate entertainment value, it tends to feel more like a concept than a fully realized feature.

Really, Life comes across as an overly long short. It takes some good concepts and stretches them farther than the content wants to go.

This leads to a film that loses the viewer’s attention as it runs. While the basic ideas and twists manage to sustain us for the first act or so, they gradually lose much to make them compelling.

As much as I like the cast, they can’t help matters in a substantial way. It doesn’t help that some scenes run too long and feel like they’re improvised – and not improvised especially well.

Life does manage some moderately intriguing threads even during its less than enthralling second half, and these factors sorta kinda keep us with it. Expect diminishing returns along the way, though, as Life sputters the longer it goes and winds up as an erratic tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Life After Beth appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasing presentation.

Overall sharpness worked fine. A smidgen of softness crept into a handful of elements, but those instances didn’t trouble me. Instead, the majority of the flick provided solid delineation.

The image lacked shimmering or jaggies, and no edge haloes materialized. Print defects failed to mar the picture.

In terms of palette, Life opted for a mix of light amber and mild teal. The Blu-ray reproduced them well.

Blacks came across as dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and concise. Overall, the transfer worked nicely.

Despite the horror angle, Life offered more of a character piece. That meant its DTS-HD MA 5.1 track tended to feel on the restrained side.

Music used the various channels well to become an active partner, and effects added a bit of life to the proceedings. A few of the more action-oriented elements brought out some vivacity, but we found I’d call memorable occurred.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech remained concise and crisp, with no edginess or related concerns. Music fared nicely, as the score/songs appeared peppy and full.

Effects remained accurate and dynamic enough. This became a “B” mix.

A few extras appear, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Jeff Baena and actors Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan and Matthew Gubler. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing and cut scenes, and related topics.

This never becomes a great commentary, as it suffers from too much dead air and too many semi-banal remarks. Still, we get a decent overview along with deadpan humor from Plaza, so it becomes a reasonably interesting listen.

The Post Mortem spans 15 minutes, 48 seconds. It comes with notes from Baena, Plaza, Gubler, DeHaan, and actor Molly Shannon.

“Mortem” looks at the film’s roots, story and characters, cast and performances, photography and music, and the depiction of zombies. A few good nuggets emerge but a lot of the program focuses on happy talk.

10 Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 19 minutes, 45 seconds. Much of this material feels like minor character exposition.

However, a few more interesting moments arise, such as when we meet Zach’s former bandmates. Though I can’t claim any of this stuff needed to be in the movie, some of the scenes work.

The disc opens with ads for Obvious Child, The Bling Ring, Spring Breakers, Warm Bodies, Tusk and Life of Crime. No trailer for Life After Beth appears here.

Blessed with an excellent cast and a good concept, Life After Beth boasts promise. However, the end result only occasionally kicks into gear, as it tends to feel like a premise without strong execution. The Blu-ray comes with solid picture and reasonable audio as well as a mix of bonus features. This never turns into a bad movie, but it seems underdeveloped and a bit dull too much of the time.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main