Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"World War Z" (2013)

I have heard about and wanted to check out the Max Brooks book for a few years now, but it has only recently been available in book stores here in Germany—thanks no doubt to the Brad Pitt blockbuster. That blockbuster, by all accounts has little to do with the book. It also has little to do with horror—both in scares and in morality-tale aspects. It is best described as a wannabe thriller. Wannabe because it is not very thrilling.

Brad Pitt plays an ex-UN-investigator who is recruited by his former bosses to follow the flimsiest of leads in trying to solve a viral outbreak that has wiped out ninety percent of the world’s population in a matter of hours. Actually, to be fair, he is recruited to babysit a real scientist who is to do the investigating, but that idiot manages to die very quickly so Pitt is left to follow an amazing power of intuition.

Most zombie stories worth their make-up use the epidemic as a way to comment on societal ills, usually evil in humanity. Here this is not so much the case. (It is just an explosion-laden thrill ride after all.) However, were it to be a commentary on the nature of evil, it would be a strange one indeed. Here, the only way to avoid the monsters is to be deathly ill. The virus seems to want to infect and kill humanity, and it ignores any humans already knocking on death’s door. A sort of “the devil only attacks those who oppose him” approach. Hardly a feasible approach to spiritual warfare.

But the true challenge with this story lies in staying awake until the end.

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