World War Z is the newest, and most ambitious to date, zombie apocalypse thriller, which is, in great part due to the immense success of television’s The Walking Dead, at an all-time height of popularity. Offering up a refreshingly original take on the undead genre, the movie is relentless and intense from the get go, barreling forward with some incredible action setpieces that will leave audiences breathless. Brad Pitt stars (and produces, as well) as an ex-United Nations ‘investigator’ who must leave his family after a zombie outbreak to search for the cause and hopefully find a cure to this deadly infection that threatens all of humanity.
From the streets of Philadelphia to Newark, New Jersey, it doesn’t take long for all hell to break loose. But soon it’s realized that this is a worldwide pandemic and the action shifts to other countries. Generally, our flesh-eating offerings we know and love have had a narrower setting, whether a farmhouse, mall or small town. This is often due to budgetary reasons, which is not a concern for World War Z. It is the international scope of the film, as Pitt’s character goes globe-trotting searching for clues, that sets this film apart from its predecessors. Another new take on the zombies (and, yes, they do use the word, ‘zombie’) is of the horde aspect, where zombies attack en masse, the likes of which have never been seen on screen before. Of course, there will always be ‘zombie purists’ who scoff at anything other than slow-moving Romero zombies, but there’s no denying that the threat of hundreds or thousands of fast-moving, bloodthirsty ex-humans climbing over each other in attack mode is extremely harrowing and utterly terrifying.
If there is anything lacking in World War Z, it’s the gore quotient, which generally goes hand in bloody hand with the undead. Though it doesn’t really detract from the film, which is heart-pounding throughout regardless, there are a couple of instances where the blood-letting is noticeably occurring off screen. Maybe we’ll get an unrated version when the film hits home video.
The film does deviate greatly from its source, the novel by Max Brooks. But that shouldn’t keep fans of the book from enjoying what is a non-stop, action horror thriller. With its worldwide setting, breathtaking special effects, and an excellent lead in Brad Pitt, World War Z is a thoroughly entertaining moviegoing experience that ups the ante considerably on the undead genre. .