While the indelible influence of George A Romero’s work can be felt across the industry, I’m having trouble trying to think of the last big budget undead movie.

Off the top of my head, my best guess is that it was Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead. But when you consider the budget of that was $28 million, it kind of dwarfs in comparison next to the $190 million that World War Z cost to make.

It could be argued that I Am Legend is the closest we’ve come to full scale undead tentpole release, but then I would argue that firstly you’re wrong and secondly, that it doesn’t count as the virus in that was not technically turning people into zombies (was more of a vampiric plague).

Never the less, if judging by previous efforts, big budget undead apocalyptic movies do not fare well with undead fans.

World War Z is bound to split audiences down the middle.

On one side, theres the fans that love the source novel of the same name by Max Brooks (of which the film bares little resemblance to) and on the other, there are people like myself who hold everything that George A Romero has done, as pretty much gospel when it comes to making an undead movie.

While it has some stunning set pieces and some inspired ideas, I can imagine many zombie fans will have trouble with the fact that the word “zombie” is actually used (a big no no in any zombie film) and when compared to other films (especially from the likes of the aforementioned Romero), there are no political statements nor comparisons to be observed here.

Given the troubled production and despite some of the more positive reviews it had during it’s cinematic run, I was expecting World War Z to be a rather insipid affair and as a result, I was emphatically prepared to hate the film.  But as I sat there and let it wash over me, I found myself rather enjoying it all.

It wastes no time in getting started as we’re introduced to former UN worker Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their two daughters Constance and Rachel, the chaos swiftly descends upon them and Gerry finds himself on a mission to investigate the disease and find a cure.

What follows is a perilous trip around the world as Gerry and his team go from country to country picking up natures breadcrumbs and investigating the origins of the disease.

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During all this, every nation is going to extreme ways to eradicate the undead plague and fight off the swarms of infected – nuclear bombs going off in the Middle East, North Korea reportedly removing teeth of its citizens and Israel effectively fortifying Jerusalem.

With its frantic action, the pace of the film rarely lets up and it’s not until the third act that things calm down a bit and the proceedings become a little less gung-ho and more suspenseful.

Interestingly, according to reports the original ending was to be more epic, action packed and feature a few political undertones, however this didn’t sit well with the studio apparently. Hence screenwriters Damon Lindeloff and Drew Goddard being brought in to tidy things up a bit, some major reshoots and a ballooning budget of $190 million.

The gamble actually pays off, as not only does it offer the audience some respite from the explosions, chaos and screaming, it also means we get to see the excellent Peter Capaldi as W.H.O doctor (either a coincidence or the casting director clearly knew something the rest of us didn’t).

As far as the cast go, they all do their job well even if the script doesn’t really give them much to work with.  Brad Pitt is very Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane.  While Mireille Enos is dependable as his onscreen wife Karin.

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The real stand out performance is Daniella Kertesz as Segen (above) the young Israeli soldier who looks after Gerry during his time in Jerusalem. She’s not in the film for that long, but she definitely has a presence when she is.

There are elements that don’t quite work – many characters are swept aside in order to keep the plot flowing and at times it does follow some old mainstream Hollywood cliches.

But when you consider it’s troubled production and the various delays it had in getting released, World War Z could’ve been a disaster of a film, yet somehow it all works.

It’s all by the numbers, very generic but very enjoyable.

Verdict: [rating=4]

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.